Review: Preventing the spread of COVID‐19 to nursing homes: Experience from a Singapore geriatric centre
This letter to the editor in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society describes ways Singapore has avoided nursing home transmission of COVID-19 including the restriction of visitors to all healthcare institutions, prescreening of visitors, and reduction in unnecessary transfer of patient.
In the two months that Singapore has had cases of COVID-19, there is only one reported transmission in an acute care hospital and none in any nursing homes. Instead of taking a conservative approach, in view of the public health consequences of COVID‐19, nursing homes now refer all patients with fever and respiratory symptoms to acute hospitals to rule out the virus. All nursing home patients admitted with acute respiratory infections to a hospital are isolated in negative pressure rooms and tested once for COVID‐19 if the clinical suspicion is low and twice if clinical suspicion is high. Contingency plans have been made to cohort patients with respiratory symptoms and pneumonia in designated wards if cases exceed the capacity of isolation facilities. On discharge, nursing homes have begun to request letters from hospitals to certify that returning residents do not have COVID‐19. Such heightened vigilance has prevented the spread of a single COVID‐19 case to nursing homes in Singapore.
About the Author: Seema Mohapatra
Seema Mohapatra is an Associate Professor of Law and Dean's Fellow
at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, She teaches Introduction to Health Care Law and Policy, Genetics and the Law, Torts, and Bioethics and the Law. Seema Mohapatra is an expert in the areas of health care law, public health law, bioethics, torts, and international health and family law. Her research interests include the intersection of biosciences and the law, assisted reproduction and surrogacy, international family and health law, health care disparities in the United States, and informed consent. Her work has been published in several journals, including the Wake Forest Law Review, Colorado Law Review, Brooklyn Law Review, and the Harvard Journal of Law & Policy. Professor Mohapatra currently teaches Torts, Introduction to Health Care Law, Bioethics, and Genetics and the Law. She has authored articles and book chapters on topics such as insurance coverage of infertility and assisted reproduction, genetics and health privacy, international surrogacy laws, and equity in healthcare coverage. Professor Mohapatra regularly presents her research nationally and internationally at legal and medical conferences and symposia. Prior to teaching, Professor Mohapatra practiced health law in Chicago at Sidley & Austin and Foley & Lardner. She earned a J.D. degree from Northwestern University School of Law and has a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from Yale University. She earned a bachelor of arts in Natural Sciences (with a minor in Women's Studies) from Johns Hopkins University.