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Medical News & Perspectives
July 16, 2020

Social Isolation—the Other COVID-19 Threat in Nursing Homes

JAMA. 2020;324(7):619-620. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.13484

Residents in nursing homes that remain locked down during the novel coronavirus pandemic face another silent threat: social isolation. In early July, long-term care insiders said many older adults in homes with ongoing strict social isolation had increased depression, anxiety, worsening dementia, and failure to thrive.

“The physical and psychosocial wellbeing of residents has been tremendously impacted by the isolation and restrictions,” Lori Smetanka, JD, executive director of the advocacy group National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, said in an email.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Using Facebook Portal to reduce Social Isolation
    Dwayne Wilson RP, RP | Retired Pharmacist
    A means of social interaction that can be of value is Apple Face Time between nursing home residents and family members. An article about nursing homes in England reports on the use of FaceBook Portals to use for just that reason (1). Before I retired, I was the pharmacist on the transitional care team at our hospital. During the pandemic I contacted one of the skilled facilities I knew was into progressive ideas to see if they were having residents Face Time with family members while locked down. To increase family compliance, I suggested that they use them at meal time, as they said that the residents really perked up with the family contact. I also suggested that they document if dietary intake improved given that they were virtually sharing a meal.

    Dwayne Wilson R.P.
    Lincoln, NE


    1. https://careappointments.com/care-news/england/143848/facebook-provides-nhs-with-portal-video-chat-devices-to-help-care-home-residents/