A temporary COVID-19 unit for the general public is in place at a Milford nursing home. It’s an effort to open up space in hospitals as capacity is tested by record coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
As of Tuesday, ten recovering COVID patients were being cared for at the temporary unit established at Genesis HealthCare’s Milford Center under a memorandum of understanding with the state. The unit has 28 beds and caters to residents of long-term care facilities, people who are homeless or who simply need more rehabilitation, but no longer need to be in a hospital.
“They would be staying in a hospital, occupying a bed, when they do not need to be there from a medical care perspective,” said Lisa Bond, deputy cabinet secretary at the state Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). “So we want to be able to move, transition these folks out of the hospital, still getting them the care that they need, so that we can free up the beds for other patients.”
Milford Center has the second highest death count of any nursing home in the state — with 38 resident deaths from COVID since the start of the pandemic. The facility is licensed for 136 beds.
But the state is confident in Milford Center’s ability to control the spread of the virus now, Bond says.
“They are required per this MOU to provide planning, training and appropriate operational policies to ensure the safety of residents, both the COVID unit and the non-COVID residents,” Bond said. “So they’ve had to do training with all their employees such as nursing and dietary, housekeeping.”
Bond says the state did not consider any other long-term care facilities before choosing Milford Center for the agreement.
“Milford had a number of beds that were open and they were able to ensure that they were able to keep this unit separate from the other residents of that facility,” she said. “There's a separate ventilation system. They were able to hire additional staffing.”
Patient care at the temporary unit will be paid for through Medicare, Medicaid and the state’s federal coronavirus relief funds.
A spokesperson for Genesis HealthCare declined to comment.