Texas Nursing Homes Eagerly Await Vaccine For Relief From COVID-19’s Heavy Toll

For many, staying safe from COVID-19 has meant no bingo nights, no family visits. One physician says that’s had a “dramatic effect” on everyone.

By Laura Rice & Caroline CovingtonDecember 21, 2020 12:57 pm,

Over 25,000 Texans have died so far from COVID-19 – that’s more than the total populations of cities such as Kerrville, Plainview or Katy.

Perhaps one of the hardest-hit populations has been Texans living in nursing homes. May of them have experienced the virus sweep through and kill fellow residents, all while they have to live in lockdown with limited access to family members outside the facility or social activities.

Dr. Michael Krol is an assistant professor at UT-Austin’s Dell Medical School. He’s also the medical director at several nursing homes in the Austin area. He told Texas Standard that throughout the pandemic, nursing homes have faced a difficult balancing act, having to protect residents’ health while trying to maintain their personal freedom.

Dr. Krol receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The isolation and that sense at limiting COVID spread have had these drastic changes to the environment,” Krol said. “That’s where they live, that’s where they have their bingo nights and they have volleyball games. And all of that basically stopped. Patients were kept in their rooms and the residents didn’t know why they were there. Not all the time.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How none of the nursing facilities where he’s medical director have received the COVID-19 vaccine yet, but are “next in line”

– How protecting residents from the virus has taken a heavy toll on their well-being

– How nursing homes have adapted to try to maintain residents’ quality of life during the pandemic

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