After the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Costa Rica made it a legal requirement for all elderly care facilities to purchase and stock a minimum amount of PPE to ensure they are equipped to deal with possible infections amongst the residents under their care. No additional government funding was provided to help pay for this large and unbudgeted for expense. At the same time, the financial stability of elderly care facilities across Costa Rica worsened. Economic support from the government’s Social Protection Board fell by +/-25% (amount of support available is directly linked to the profits gained through the National Lottery) and all fundraising activities were cancelled. The fall in income combined with the increase in expenditure on PPE has resulted in the many elderly care facilities falling into considerable debt as a direct result of the pandemic.
The Scheinberg Relief Fund has donated in-kind PPE to 12 care homes across Guanacaste, Alajuela and San José and provided economic support to 8 care homes severely affected by the increase in monthly expenses directly resulting from the pandemic. The SRF has distributed 64,200 gloves, 74,800 face masks, 5,325 gowns, 21,500 shoe covers, 72 goggles, 30 thermometers, 144 gallons of sanitiser gel, toilet paper and diapers. This donation has ensured that each elderly care facility has sufficient protective equipment and medical supplies for at least 3 months, providing protection for 394 residents and 252 employees.