Wilmington Nursing Home Converting To COVID-19 Facility

BOSTON (State House News Service) — A second skilled nursing facility has stepped forward to help the state address the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.

AdviniaCare at Wilmington announced plans late Tuesday night to temporarily designate its 142-bed skilled nursing facility to care for patients diagnosed with the respiratory disease who are recovering and in need of a high level of care, including oxygen support.

Current residents and patients at the facility, located at 90 West Street in Wilmington, will be transferred to other nursing facilities in the region over over the next few days, according to Pointe Group Care, a Norwood-based company that operates AdviniaCare at Wilmington and eight senior care communities.

The Wilmington facility was chosen due to its "location, capacity and infrastructure," according to Point Group Care.

After receiving a negative test for COVID-19, residents and patients departing Wilmington will be transferred to facilities "as close as possible" that are suited for their care, including to other facilities operated by Pointe Group Care.

"It is our hope that the sacrifices made by our residents, patients and their families – as well as our dedicated, extraordinary staff – will help mitigate a public health crisis and have a positive impact on many," said Chris Hannon, chief operating officer at Pointe Group Care. "We believe, as a health care provider for our community, that this is the right thing to do in the interest of protecting the health of elders everywhere."

Gov. Charlie Baker and his coronavirus command center leadership are working with industry to facilitate COVID-19 care at facilities like nursing homes that are up and running with equipment and staff to ensure capacity at acute care hospitals ahead of the expected coronavirus surge, which Baker this week said is expected to hit between April 7 and April 17.

Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Worcester over the weekend became the first nursing home to begin transferring residents out in order to set up a COVID-19-only facility. Baker said this week that 150 beds will be ready at Beaumont by Thursday, before ramping up to a maximum of about 300.

Altogether, the administration is targeting establishment of at least 1,000 beds for coronavirus-afflicted older adults, hoping both to lessen the strain on hospitals ahead of the surge and to avoid requiring that skilled nursing facilities receive patients from hospitals.

"We are taking extreme care to minimize any potential negative effects from the transfer of our long-term care residents and rehabilitation patients. Our number one priority is their health and safety," said John Benedetti, administrator of AdviniaCare at Wilmington. "We are keeping our families fully aware of the situation and working closely with public health officials to ensure the best possible clinical outcomes."

By Michael P. Norton, State House News Service

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