A LAW FIRM FOR VICTIMS OF COVID-19
Don’t Suffer in Silence Any Longer
People age 65 and older are at higher risk for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. As are people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and respiratory illness. Both groups are heavily represented among the nation’s 1.3 million nursing home residents. That concentration is a key reason why 1 in 5 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, but it’s not the only one. Certain conditions at nursing homes can exacerbate the spread of the disease:
- shortages of coronavirus tests
- shortages of or lack of access to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gowns
- allowing staff who work/treat infected patients to also come in contact/work/treat patients who do not have corona, thereby exposing non-infected patients to the potential risk of contracting corona
- employees who work in multiple facilities, increasing chances for exposure
- residents who are infected with coronavirus sharing rooms with others who are not infected
- transfers of residents from hospitals and other settings
- exposed residents to those with corona should have been isolated until tested and testing determined positive or negative
These factors make nursing homes potential breeding grounds for viral and bacterial diseases, especially given chronic problems with infection control that predate the pandemic. According to a recent federal report, 4 in 5 nursing homes surveyed between 2013 and 2017 were cited for deficiencies in infection prevention and control. Half were cited more than once during that time.
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What are nursing home residents’ rights?
The CMS has a list of residents’ rights and protections under federal and state laws. Broadly speaking, these include the right to:
- be treated with dignity and respect
- be free from abuse, neglect and discrimination
- have friends and family visit and participate in your care
- take part in activities
- make complaints without fear of punishment
- receive proper medical care
- have a doctor, family member or legal representative notified of changes in your condition or treatment
Keep in mind that state statutes on resident rights often go beyond federal rights. But rights related to visitation and activities are being restricted as part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care, an advocacy group that focuses on care issues, has a fact sheet on how the pandemic is affecting rights and rules in nursing homes.
COVID-19 in Nursing Homes & Senior Care Facilities
The elderly and those with compromised immune systems are among the most at-risk populations. As such, nursing homes have a duty of care to protect residents and patients from highly contagious diseases, including COVID-19. However, many nursing homes failed to take swift actions to protect their employees and residents during the pandemic.
In areas that should have been contained, the sick and elderly quickly contracted coronavirus and spread the disease to others in their nursing homes. In most cases, this spread could’ve been prevented with common-sense guidelines such as social distancing, frequent hand sanitation, and the usage of face masks.
Somehow, many nursing home residents still came in contact with COVID-19. Our top coronavirus lawyers say that it shouldn’t have been possible if the nursing homes were following pandemic guidelines.
If you lost a family member to COVID-19 while living in a nursing home, you need to contact our top coronavirus lawyer immediately. We can help answer your questions and put together a coronavirus lawsuit that could help you and your family recover compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one.
Helpful COVID-19 Resources For More Information:
- Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) Coronavirus Resources for Employers and Workers
- Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (Older Adults)
- Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (Correctional and Detention Facilities)
- Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (Racial & Ethnic Minority Groups)
- Center for Diseases Control and Prevention
- World Health Organization
- Ready.gov – Pandemic Guidelines