Aging and the costs that come with it

As a high school student, junior Darcey Hookway spent time volunteering on a dementia ward at a local hospital. “The social aspect of their condition really struck me,” says Hookway, who is from London. “They struggled immensely with social isolation. And now with COVID exacerbating that more than ever, I think that’s a huge detriment to their health.”

Katherine Unger Baillie

Social distancing and dying alone

COVID-19 has led to drastic changes in how hospitals provide end-of-life care to patients and their families. With strict no-visiting limitations in place in an effort to stem contagion, patients have been dying alone.

By Penn Nursing News

In the News

The New York Times

When will long-term care facilities reopen to visitors?

Jason Karlawish of the Perelman School of Medicine spoke about the effect of social-distancing requirements on long-term-care facilities. “It’s not just COVID that’s killing residents in long-term care,” he said. “It’s the isolation, the loneliness.”


The Washington Post

For residents’ good, nursing homes should consider re-allowing visitors

Jason Karlawish of the Perelman School of Medicine, Allison K. Hoffman of the Law School, and a Harvard Medical School colleague advocated for a COVID-19 containment strategy that allows for long term care facility residents to receive visitors.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coronavirus exploited failure of Pa. health officials to improve long-standing problems with nursing home oversight

Rachel Werner of the Perelman School of Medicine said relaxing nursing home regulations during the pandemic was a matter of “balancing risks.” “The trade-off was, had they not been relaxed, other things would be worse,” she said.


The Wall Street Journal

U.S. nursing home population shrank roughly 10% this year

Rachel Werner of the Perelman School of Medicine and Leonard Davis Institute said Medicare’s method of reporting nursing home deaths lumps together several time periods. “It doesn’t give us a full picture of the impact of the pandemic,” she said.


Philadelphia Inquirer

As coronavirus shut down support systems, the struggles of dementia patients and caregivers only get worse

The Penn Memory Center’s Sara Manning, Allison K. Hoffman of the Law School, and Jason Karlawish of the Perelman School of Medicine wrote about the effects of social distancing and the pandemic on the “already-precarious system for community-based long term care” for patients with dementia.


WHYY (Philadelphia)

Pa. nursing homes tighten restrictions to control for potential coronavirus spread

Kirstin Manges of the Perelman School of Medicine said nursing homes are usually selected for their physical environments and staff friendliness. “However, there is very little out there to allow patients or caregivers to identify how well prepared a nursing home is for a disaster or an outbreak, whether it be the flu or a pandemic,” she said.