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COVID Takes Huge, Disproportionate Toll on the Elderly

 

Cramped Quarters and Shared Spaces Make Containment Difficult

As of early September 2020, a staggering 68,000 COVID deaths had taken place in senior living facilities — 42 percent of total fatalities. And individual state totals were often higher. The elderly are especially vulnerable to COVID. Even mild or common-cold CORONA viruses have fatality rates as high as eight percent among residents of nursing homes.

The infected and most vulnerable are often cared for by staff who are themselves at risk due to a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) like respirators, masks, gowns, and gloves. Staff are often forced to ration and reuse PPE, increasing the likely spread of infection.

nurse

FeverGuard for Senior Living Facilities

iStock-Elderly sitting with healthcare
As Gandhi once remarked, “The measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.” And by that measure, we are failing badly when it comes to protecting seniors from the ravages of COVID.

So, what will it take? The answer is simple but not easy. It will require stringent adherence to the health and sanitation protocols that have been recommended since the pandemic began:

  • Mandatory health and temperature checks

  • Wearing PPE at all times

  • Practicing social distancing and hand washing

  • Closed communal areas

  • Limiting the number of nonessential workers

Wearing a FeverGuard should be on this list. FeverGuard is a comfortable, wearable thermometer that fits under the arm, testing an individual’s temperature continuously.

Anyone wearing a FeverGuard receives an alert through its app at the first sign of a fever. And FeverGuard can be configured to notify administrators, caregivers and family members via text and email.

FeverGuard should be provided to every resident of a senior living facility and every staff member who cares for them because they are often the source of infection.

Why FeverGuard?

FeverGuard provides an early warning of a potential fever, one of the most common signs of COVID infection — or any infection. Early warning increases the likelihood that the spread of infection can be reduced and the infected can receive prompt and effective treatment. And, in situations where social distancing is simply not possible, FeverGuard adds an extra layer of protection, beyond masks and gloves. Moreover, the data FeverGuard uses to analyze an individual’s temperature pattern is protected by a HIPAA- compliant database. The data is never shared.

What About the Asymptomatic?

Of course, asymptomatic individuals may have no symptoms or such mild ones they’re ignored. But even in those circumstances, FeverGuard could pick up a very subtle increase in temperature that might be the beginning of a fever. And it only takes one missed signal, to begin the spread of infection.

 

Take the example of a luxury senior living community in San Francisco. In late August 2020, the facility completed testing of staff and residents and came away with a clean bill of health. Barely a month later, four staff members from the same floor had tested positive and three of whom were already home with symptoms. So, they began testing staff twice a week and residents weekly.

There are many similar examples, where senior facilities are free from COVID — until they’re not. And it’s clear that early detection is even more important when, in the case of the elderly and the staff that care for them, the margin for error or misdiagnosis is slim.

FeverGuard could have sent those administrators an early warning via text alert or email, increasing their ability to isolate more quickly the infected while protecting those in their care, safeguarding staff, and stemming the tide of COVID deaths.

iStock-Elderly in Group