GLENVIEW, Ill. (CBS) — A dementia patient contracted and survived COVID-19, and on Monday night, he was ready to go back to his assisted living facility.
But as CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, the facility flat out said no – all because of something the hospital says it will not do, but that the facility is demanding.
Vincent Comella Sr. tested positive for coronavirus at the end of March and has since recovered. But he is still at the hospital some 30 days later. Family said that is because NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview will not give him the test he has been told he needs to leave and go back to his home.
The hospital said it developed comprehensive protocols for discharging COVID-19 patients when it comes to group settings and nursing homes, and said it is following state and federal guidelines. But the hospital said it does not recommend a second test to prove a patient does not still have COVID-19.
But the assisted living facility says Comella Sr. needs one, his family said.
“He could be discharged today if he had somewhere to go,” said Vincent Comella Jr.
Comella Jr. said his father is free to leave Glenbrook Hospital, where he has been for more than 30 days.
“We can’t take much more of it,” Comella Jr. said. “It’s hard.”
But dad, who lives with early-onset dementia, has nowhere to go.
“We’ve come to a logjam where the facility won’t accept him back without a negative COVID test – but the hospital cannot administer the test,” Comella Jr. said.
Comella Sr. is a resident at Harbor House in suburban Wheeling. He was taken from the assisted care facility to Glenbrook Hospital at the end of March.
“They did a COVID test on him and the next day, he tested positive,” Comella Jr. said.
Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, Harbor House requires patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 to show proof of a negative coronavirus test before being allowed back in.
“Honestly, a test would be the easiest thing,” Comella Jr. said.
But Comella Jr. said Glenbrook Hospital won’t give his father another test.
“They said because he has no symptoms and he’s been symptom-free for 31 days,” Comella Jr. said.
And that is preventing his dad from returning to harbor house.
“It’s one simple test, and we can have this all behind us and my dad can rest,” Comella Jr. said.
NorthShore University HealthSystem released the following statement:
“We continue to follow current CDC and IDPH COVID-19 guidelines—for discharge to long term care facilities—which do not advise secondary testing because such testing does not change a patient’s treatment protocol in most cases. Due to patient privacy, we cannot comment on the specific care or discharge process for any individual patient. However, we have adopted strict protocols for patient discharge which is reviewed by an internal special committee for any cases involving congregate living such as nursing home or memory care facilities. Unfortunately, the facility at issue here has not been cooperative in the process, even after our involvement of IDPH to re-enforce state guidance. We continue to work closely with the family regarding their loved one’s transition of care.”