DID YOU KNOW…
Nursing homes and similar facilities may have been negligent in their handling of the outbreak if they failed to uphold a duty of care to their patients and residents. This failure may include:
- Failure to follow government-recommended guidelines and regulations. On March 13, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommended completely closing all nursing homes in the country to visitors, other than for exceptional circumstances, in order to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to our most vulnerable population. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) posted recommendations and guidelines for all of those nursing homes that continued to operate. However, many facilities have failed to fully uphold or enforce these guidelines, leading to harm to their patients and residents.
- Understaffing of caretakers. Nearly 75% of nursing homes in the nation are severely understaffed, forcing employees to work longer shifts, while caring for multiple patients – some of whom may already carry COVID-19 and require specialized and dedicated care.
- Overworked and underpaid caretakers. Despite many healthcare professionals admirably dedicating their lives to taking care of our elderly population, many are severely underpaid and do not even have basic employment rights such as paid sick leave. This forces them into a tough position where they may have to go into work while sick in order to make ends meet.
- Lack of required equipment. Many nursing homes are experiencing shortages of the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment such as gloves, respirator masks, and face shields – equipment that is vital to protecting caretakers and preventing further spread of the disease.
Moreover, if these senior care facilities and nursing homes fail to properly initiate an action plan or planned response as part of their COVID-19 operations, they may have exercised gross negligence in the care and supervision of their residents/patients, and they may be held accountable for any deaths within their facility.