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Coronavirus relief funds for nursing homes dry up, raising fears for elderly, vulnerable

As drafts of a renewed coronavirus relief package continue to be debated in and around the White House, the many millions left languishing in nursing homes and elderly care facilities – along with their loved ones forced to communicate with them from afar – are urging swift action.

According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA), almost all the initial $175 billion U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funds from the CARES Act – which was signed into law by President Trump in late March – has been spent, and yet coronavirus – officially termed COVID-19 – cases in at least 22 states continues to ascend, ahead of the already daunting cold and flu season.

“HHS has announced distribution plans for 80 percent of the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund created by the CARES Act. Health care providers, including nursing homes, will need additional resources to continue its response to the COVID pandemic heading into the cold and flu season, which provides new challenges,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), told Fox News. “COVID-19 disproportionately impacts the elderly – many of whom already have preexisting health conditions and chronic diseases – and the dedicated staff who care for them.”

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The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has thus requested an additional $100 billion from the HHS Provider Relief Fund, which is accessible for all health care providers impacted by the novel pathogen, and asked “that a sizeable portion of the fund be dedicated to helping nursing homes and assisted living communities to acquire resources associated with protecting vulnerable residents and staff from the virus, including constant testing, personal protective equipment (PPE) and staff support.”

Parkinson is urging Congress to provide the additional billions to protect the most susceptible. As of Friday, the notion of further stimulus and relief funding was still the topic of political fodder in Washington.

Parkinson emphasized that the PPE supply shortages and delays in obtaining test results in the first six months of the pandemic “put nursing homes at a serious disadvantage” in keeping COVID out of their facilities.

 “Funding from HHS has helped nursing homes pay for additional staffing, secure vital PPE equipment, and conduct regular testing of residents and staff in response to the COVID pandemic,” he lamented. “We need Congress to prioritize our vulnerable seniors and their caregivers in nursing homes and assisted living communities by passing another COVID-funding package before they leave town for the elections.”

Indeed, a prominent portion of coronavirus deaths have occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities nationwide – a chilling consequence of the disease, which is known to be especially lethal to adults over the age of 60, and with underlying health ailments. Furthermore, it can rapidly tear through converging, indoor dwellings and be passed on by workers who move from room and room.

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Raising Awareness About Its Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

KEY POINTS

  • Approximately 764,000 people in the U.S have at least one symptom of cerebral palsy
  • Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common motor disabilities diagnosed during childhood
  • People with Cerebral Palsy suffer from problems related to movement and posture

World Cerebral Palsy Day is celebrated annually on Oct. 6 all around the world to raise awareness about the motor disability. It also helps society understand the roles and responsibilities in helping and protecting the human rights of people with Cerebral Palsy to ensure that they are accepted into society and live fulfilling lives.

What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) refers to a group of disorders that permanently affects a person’s ability to control his or her muscles caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain. 

CP hinders a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It is also one of the most common motor disabilities that occurs during childhood.

Symptoms caused by Cerebral Palsy:

People affected with Cerebral Palsy suffer from problems related to movement and posture. Additionally, people also suffer from one or more related conditions such as intellectual disability, seizures, problems with vision, hearing, or speech, changes in the spine (such as scoliosis) and joint problems (such as contractures), as reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The symptoms caused by Cerebral Palsy can vary from person to person based on the severity of the disorder.

A person suffering from mild Cerebral Palsy might not need any special aid while walking or performing daily tasks. Meanwhile, someone with severe CP may require the use of special equipment to walk. However, in some cases they might not be able to walk at all, in which case, they will require lifelong support and care from a family member or a caregiver.

It is important to note that CP does not get worse over time, though, the symptoms caused by CP might change over a person’s lifetime.

How many people are affected by Cerebral Palsy in the United State?

According to cerebralpalsyguidance.com, approximately 764,000 individuals in the United States, including adults and children, suffer from at least one symptom of Cerebral Palsy.

It is the most commonly diagnosed childhood motor disability in the United States. About 10,000 babies are born with Cerebral Palsy on an annual basis, and about 1,200 to 1,500 (school-aged) children are diagnosed with it every year.

Is there a cure for Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy is a disorder that currently has no cure. However, there are numerous available treatments to help improve the individual’s lifestyle and well being such as:

  • Medication – It can help control symptoms such as muscle spasms, uncontrollable limb movements, seizures, etc.
  • Surgery – It can help reduce muscle spasticity, increase flexibility and more.
  • Complementary and Alternative Treatment Options – These include various types of therapies to increase the lifestyle and health of patients. The therapies include energy therapy, movement therapy, aqua therapy, speech therapy, behavior therapy and more.

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