Nursing Homes and Assisted Living

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The owner of a Craig County long-term care facility was arrested and charged with 17 counts of exploitation, stemming from a state attorney general's office investigation that alleges he stole tens of thousands of dollars from residents.

Randy Joe McKinney, owner of the Golden Life Residential Care Home in Bluejacket, faces up to 170 years in prison, according to prosecutors.

State officials say with a sharp decline in COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents and vaccinations happening at a good clip, in-person visits can resume.

Visitation to long-term care facilities was closed in mid-March 2020 because of the risk the disease posed to older Oklahomans.

"We know isolation has taken a toll on our nursing home residents, many of whom are suffering long-term impacts to their mental and physical health related to the separation from their loved ones, family caregivers, clergy and friends," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye.

Governor's office

The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine reached an Oklahoma nursing home on Tuesday.

CVS Health gave doses to residents and staff of The Lodge at Brookline in Oklahoma City under a partnership with the federal government that will see them serve 176 long-term care facilities in the state. The first shots were given to 89-year-old resident Frances Watland and registered nurse Pam Byers.

Oklahoma National Guard Tech. Sgt. Kasey Phipps

Oklahoma's nursing homes will be eligible to receive facility-specific weekly trainings and a federally-funded stipend as part of a program through the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences' Project ECHO initiative.

"The nursing homes have the highest morbidity and mortality rates currently," said Dr. Joseph Johnson, OSU Project ECHO's medical director. "This particular program will hopefully decrease that, and give them an incentive to release some of their staff for participation that can impact changes within our 77 counties."

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Health care providers and resident advocates told state lawmakers Oklahoma’s nursing homes have immediate needs to deal with COVID-19.

Long-term care facility residents account for about 1% of Oklahoma’s population, but more than 40% of COVID-deaths, mirroring a national trend.

Dr. Alexander Frank with the medical group Long Term Care Specialists described the coronavirus as “insidious,” and said it doesn’t care about the quality of a facility.

Facebook / Tuttle Care Center

The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps, a medical and public health volunteer system that is part of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, put out an "urgent weekend request" for nurses and nursing assistants due to an "outbreak" at a long-term care facility in the Grady County city of Tuttle. 

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Nursing homes are looking for emergency funding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Care Providers Oklahoma President and CEO Steven Buck said the group is supporting a request by care facilities nationwide for $10 billion out of $175 billion in a provider relief fund created by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Tech. Sgt. Kasey M. Phipps / Courtesy Oklahoma Air National Guard

The head of the Oklahoma National Guard said Wednesday that the Guard will ramp up its mission to provide assistance to the state's nursing homes and longterm health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We started out with two teams that were going out to disinfect nursing home facilities across Oklahoma," said Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson, the adjutant general of the Guard. "I think those teams have grown to four, and potentially might go a little higher because you know that's an incredibly vulnerable population we have with our elderly citizens."

Our guest is Eileen Bradshaw, the recently-named CEO of the vitally important Tulsa nonprofit known as LIFE Senior Services. She brings us up to date on the various efforts that LIFE is now, in the age of Coronavirus, putting toward assisting the elderly in our community. These actions include (as detailed at the LIFE website) utility and telephone help, mental and behavioral health services, food resources, COVID-19 testing-site data, details on special shopping hours for seniors, and so on.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Donna Thomson, who is a co-author of "The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation from Loved One to Caregiver." As was noted of this important new guidebook by Booklist: "Caregivers often sacrifice their own health and relationships to take care of loved ones, which is a big problem in the United States, where nearly 45 million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult or child with medical problems or chronic conditions.

As many of us return home for the holidays, we might see certain signs that our parents are not only aging but also, perhaps, are in declining health. What are those signs, and what should we do if we see them? Our guest has some answers. He's Tulsa-based attorney Todd Whatley, and he's with the Oklahoma Elder Law Group.

Our guest, Dr. Arthur Kleinman of Harvard University, is an acclaimed and influential scholar-writer on the topics of psychiatry, anthropology, global health, and cultural issues in medicine. He's also the author of "The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition," which has long been taught in many U.S. medical schools. Dr. Kleinman joins us to discuss his new book, a work of both memoir and scholarship that stems from the pivotal decade or so during which he cared for his late wife.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we present our third and final health-related installment of the popular Life Kit podcast from NPR, which is an ongoing feature presenting useful "how to" tips to listeners on various aspects of daily living. Our own John Schumann co-hosted a trio of medical-based Life Kit podcasts which originally appeared earlier this summer, and those are the three episodes we're sharing on our program (last week, the week before last, and today).

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Donna Thomson, who is a co-author of "The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation from Loved One to Caregiver." As was noted of this important new guidebook by Booklist: "Caregivers often sacrifice their own health and relationships to take care of loved ones, which is a big problem in the United States, where nearly 45 million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult or child with medical problems or chronic conditions.

Our guest is the journalist Katy Butler, whose articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Best American Science Writing, and The Best American Essays. Her new book, which she tells us about, is "The Art of Dying Well." As noted by Dr. Lucy Kalanithi of the Stanford School of Medicine: "This is a book to devour, discuss, dog-ear, and then revisit as the years pass. Covering matters medical, practical, financial, and spiritual -- and, beautifully, their intersection -- Katy Butler gives wise counsel for the final decades of our 'wild and precious' lives.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, our guest is Laura Kenny, the President and Chief Executive Officer of LIFE Senior Services. For 40+ years, this vital Tulsa-based nonprofit has, per its website, "strategically grown to meet the emerging needs of an ever-increasing and diverse aging population. LIFE provides solutions that allow older adults to maintain their independence and live their lives to the fullest.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak with Susan Harris, a longtime economic-development advocate and public-education expert here in Tulsa. Harris recently retired from the Tulsa Regional Chamber, where she served as the Senior Vice-President of Education and Workforce Development. Harris is also an active caregiver; she has personally assisted a few different elderly relatives who were admitted to nursing homes in our community, and she continues to help certain family members in this way.

On this edition of our program, we learn about the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative, or OHAI, which was, per its website, "established in 2012 by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. OHAI understands that good health is key to successful aging. We focus in improving the health of older adults across the state through caregiver-training and health-promotion education. We also partner with health systems to establish senior health clinics to increase access to geriatric health care.

What is "co-housing" -- and why has it become so popular so quickly in certain parts of the U.S.? And how is it different from assisted living, or nursing-home living, or communal living? On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Melanie Fry and Jane Zemel, two Tulsans who are involved with the still-emerging movement to create a Tulsa Senior Co-Housing community.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we learn about Medicalodges, a Kansas-based healthcare company that, per its website, "was launched in 1961 when its first nursing home, Golden Age Lodge, was opened in Coffeyville.... The company grew through the 1960s with the addition of eight nursing facilities. In 1969, Golden Age Lodges was renamed Medicalodges, Inc. As new care centers were built or purchased, the company expanded its products and services to include a continuum of health care.