Nursing homes at a tipping point: Many are forced to freeze admissions, stranding patients in hospitals for weeks
Already crowded hospitals across Massachusetts are being forced to keep patients on their wards for weeks after they would otherwise be discharged for rehabilitation or long-term care because there are so few available spaces at nursing homes struggling to stay open amid the Omicron surge.
At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, more than 200 patients sat in limboMonday. The sickest had waited an average of about three weeks, because so many nursing homes have been forced to close their doors to new patients.
Nursing home industry leaders say they are verging on a crisis. Acutely short-staffed even before the surge, they are facing growing numbers of workers sidelined by infections, spot shortages of rapid test kits, and a state rule many say is outdated that forces them to intermittently freeze admissions. As a result, hospitals across the state, slammed with record numbers of severely ill patients sick with COVID and other conditions, are facing critical bottlenecks at a time when their capacity is at peak levels.