A Review of the Medical Ethics Surrounding COVID-19 Lockdowns in Personal Care Homes and the Impacts on Those Living with Dementia
Ethics, COVID and Personal Care Homes
Keywords:COVID-19, Dementia, Personal Care Homes, Pandemics, Mental Health, Lockdowns, Older Adults
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on personal care homes has played out daily in the media headlines across the country. Although Manitoba seemed to avoid the worst of this early on in the pandemic, recently the province has seen a disturbing surge in overall case levels (Government of Manitoba, 2020). This rise in COVID-19 cases in Manitoba has forced personal care homes to once again lockdown and restrict not only all visitor access but also limit social interaction among the residents themselves. When looking at this situation broadly, locking down all personal care homes seems to be like the obvious decision to make. Residents in personal care homes represent one of our most vulnerable populations and the virus has been shown to spread quickly with serious medical impacts to this group. Significant virus spread in these personal care homes could easily overwhelm our healthcare system and lead to unnecessary deaths. Clearly the decision to lockdown the personal care homes can be readily justified as a means of protecting not only this vulnerable group but also supporting the larger community who either provide healthcare or are requiring healthcare for other non-COVID-19 related reasons. While the above is true, the decision to do this is far from being straight forward. The impacts of these lockdowns are far reaching and go way beyond just the containment of the virus. There is a fine balance between maintaining the emotional and mental well-being of an individual living with dementia and managing the physical health of the greater population.
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