Nursing home and long-term care members describe feeling “abandoned” during the coronavirus pandemic, despite well-known research that had indicated the disease would be lethal for the residents they serve, a new JAMA article makes plain.

“There are infection preventionists in tears, staff that have to work 12-hour shifts nonstop, medical directors that haven’t had a day off since the beginning of April,” Ghinwa Dumyati, M.D., a disease expert who works with nursing homes around Rochester, NY, told JAMA

“The stress that the healthcare personnel are going through, from medical director to the CNA, is unbelievable,” Dumyati added. 

The article detailed how various struggles have exacerbated the pandemic’s toll on nursing homes and its workers. Workers noted that the industry has since struggled to meet federal testing mandates and have faced severe personnel shortages all while hospitals get the most attention. 

Facilities and staff “have felt abandoned,” Terry Fulmer, Ph.D., RN, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation, told JAMA

The article also explained that after initial requests for personal protective equipment, COVID-19 testing and staff support went largely ignored, providers are now stressing the need for resource support as many states release reopening plans for nursing homes.

So are consumer advocates.

“Every day, we hear about the critical needs for protective personal equipment for staff, for testing for residents, and until those things are prioritized for long-term care facilities, I think we’re not at the point where we’re going to see this getting under control,” said Lori Smetanka, J.D., executive director of the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.