A controversial recommendation: LA County public health urges families to remove loved ones from nursing homes

Should they stay or should they go? With nursing homes and other similar facilities taking care of so many elderly and vulnerable patients, the ubiquitous Dr. Barbara Ferrer of LA County Health made the unusual recommendation that if families are able to care for their loved ones they should take them out of the nursing homes.

Dr. Ferrer knows it's a difficult decision and not everybody’s prepared to do that. Even so the doctors and professionals we spoke with thought it was a terrible idea, because family members aren’t trained to be caregivers, to dispense medicine, deal with emergencies, or even help someone to the bathroom.

The coronavirus pandemic really took off inside a nursing home in the state of Washington, it’s a huge issue, and in some cases death rates of places hit hard approach 50%.

RELATED30 patients, some staff members infected with COVID-19 at Riverside nursing home

However in just a matter of weeks several facilities have literally turned into fortresses.

Bob Beitcher the president and CEO of the Motion Picture Television Fund which operates a skilled nursing facility, part of it’s Wasserman campus in Woodland Hills, believes patients are much better off with him than at home.

RELATED: 84 nursing home residents in Riverside evacuated after employees don't show up for work

Everyone coming into the facility gets their temperature checked as one of a number of strict precautions. He’s glad Public Health is stepping up but he thinks thy're a couple of weeks late and he could use a lot more testing.

Dr. Noah Marco who oversees the medical care for some 1200 residents at three facilities under the Los Angeles Jewish Home umbrella agrees that residents are better off right where they are with 24/7 medical care.

Still these are tense nervous times for everyone inside the nursing homes, not just for residents and their families but also for staffers. Witness the emergency evacuation Wednesday morning of some 80 patients out in Riverside because nervous staffers simply refuse to show up for work at a facility with dozens of positive patients. These are difficult times for everyone. 

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