The New Normal

Angie SzumlinskiNews, Studies

We have all been affected by COVID-19 in some fashion; directly, with family members, residents, co-workers, and friends. Since our industry began restricting visitation, our residents have had to adapt to a new world in the center. There are restrictions on communal dining, activities, outside entertainment, family/friend visitation and so much more! Staff have also had to change the way they work to meet the resident’s needs and bring some happiness into their world. Many centers are “dressing up” meal trays to make residents’ mealtime more pleasant and assist in preventing unwanted weight loss/dehydration. Activity support staff are being brought in to assist residents in utilizing the technology to communicate with their loved ones and conduct one-on-one activities; additional housekeeping staff have been onboarded to assist in continuous cleaning and sanitizing efforts every shift. Add to that the additional efforts of limiting entry points to the center, screening procedures for all who enter the center, PPE usage, and training on infection control protocols.

While maintaining social distancing and wearing PPE has proven to slow the spread of COVID-19, the vaccine or treatment research is still underway and one of the clinical trials is focused on our long-term care settings. “Romark Pharmaceuticals’ clinical trials test the effectiveness of its broad-spectrum antiviral NT-300, nitazoxanide extended-release tablets, in preventing viral respiratory infections like COVID-19. These trials focus on the drug’s effectiveness in protecting high-risk populations, including residents and staff in senior care facilities.”

The drug has been shown in lab studies to inhibit the replication of many respiratory viruses, including SARS, MERS, influenza viruses, rhinoviruses, and the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. “Romark Pharmaceuticals is running three trials:

The first prevention trial will enroll 800 senior residents in long-term care facilities after

COVID-19 is reported at facilities.

The second prevention trial will enroll 800 healthcare workers who are at risk of being

exposed to COVID-19.

The third trial will focus on NT-300’s effectiveness as an early treatment of COVID-19 and

other viral respiratory illnesses.”

There are many potential advantages if this treatment proves effective in the trials; it is an oral drug which means that it does not require hospitalization or IV administration.