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Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence During COVID-19

 

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have a duty and responsibility to keep seniors safe by ensuring that residents and patients are provided with competent medical care and a safe living environment.

Facilities that act negligently and fall short in that duty can be held liable for a resident’s injuries or wrongful death. Our nursing home abuse attorneys provides representation in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth.

Historically, nursing home abuse and neglect has centered on negligent care of residents including physical, financial or sexual abuse by nursing home staff.

In nursing homes in Massachusetts and across the country, nursing home residents face a new threat—COVID-19.

The novel coronavirus can be especially dangerous and deadly once it infiltrates a nursing home. Nursing home residents are in the high-risk group because of their age and underlying health conditions. Add to that, the fact that the virus is highly contagious and is easily spread from one resident to another. In fact, many nursing homes have become hotspots for person-to-person transmission of Covid-19.

The nursing home attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman in Boston are ready to help you with your Covid-19 nursing home claim. Our law firm has experience in dealing with claims against nursing homes and other assisted living facilities and recovering maximum compensation for clients and their families.

A nursing home could be held legally responsible for a resident’s illness or death related to the coronavirus if the nursing home or its employees are found to have acted negligently in the care of that individual. This includes nursing homes that have failed to take reasonable precautions in stopping the spread of the coronavirus or failed to follow the various federal, state and local guidelines.

Our lawyers are actively investigating Covid-19 claims and keeping abreast of developments in this rapidly evolving area of litigation.

If you suspect that a loved one’s nursing home or long-term care facility has been or is being negligent in providing care or treatment or maintaining a safe living environment, contact our office today for a free and confidential consultation. There is never any cost unless we recover money for you.

The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman Can Help with a Covid-19 Nursing Home Claim

The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman will conduct a thorough investigation of your Covid-19 claim and identify all potentially liable parties. Our attorneys will take a close look at the nursing home’s infection control efforts to identify any deficiencies.

Nursing homes should be taking preventative measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, as well as other infectious diseases like tuberculosis and influenza. Some of those measures include properly disinfecting surfaces and medical equipment, requiring facility workers to wear gloves and other protective equipment and isolating patients with suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Lack of coronavirus prevention and detection can lead to serious illness or wrongful death of a nursing home resident and can constitute nursing home neglect.

Our law firm will seek justice for you or a loved one who received negligent nursing home care during the Covid-19 crisis.

We will work to show that:

  • The nursing home owed a duty of care to the resident.
  • The nursing home breached that duty of care through their actions or inactions.
  • The resident suffered harm as a result.

Our attorneys have the skills, experience and resources to win these types of cases. We work with the best and most respected medical experts in the nation. Plus, we aren’t afraid to take on large nursing homes and long-term care facilities that are often more concerned with company profits than the health and safety of their residents.

We will work tirelessly to recover damages, including:

  • Medical costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional trauma
  • Wrongful death

Our elder care attorneys are equipped to handle Covid-19 claims occurring in:

  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Rest homes
  • Homecare situations
Covid-19 Nursing Home Guidance From the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has asked nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to carefully review current guidance from DPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and take the following measures with regard to Covid-19:

  • Clinicians caring for patients with suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 should immediately contact the DPH to review the risk assessment and discuss laboratory testing and control measures.
  • Review the facility's current policies and procedures to minimize exposures to respiratory pathogens such as Covid-19 and influenza.
  • Adhere to current CDC guidelines for healthcare personnel involved in the treatment of confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19, including standard, contact and airborne precautions such as the use of eye protection.
  • Re-educate healthcare personnel on proper use of personal protective equipment, or PPE, including use of gowns, masks or respirators, goggles or face shields, and gloves.

In addition, DPH has instructed facilities to:

  • Restrict visitation of all visitors and non-essential healthcare personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as end-of-life situations.
  • Carefully screen individuals allowed to enter in compassionate care situations for fever or respiratory infection and require that they perform hand hygiene.
  • Follow CDC guidelines for restricting access to healthcare workers and confirm that the healthcare worker does not have a fever by taking each worker’s temperature upon arrival.
  • Suspend communal dining and internal and external group activities.
  • Provide care to patients with known or suspected Covid-19 in a single-person room.

Additional guidance from DPH is available here.

Covid-19 Preparedness Checklist for Nursing Homes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a checklist that nursing homes and other long-term care facilities can use to make sure they are prepared for responding to Covid-19 at their facilities. The checklist should be used as one tool in developing a comprehensive coronavirus response plan, the agency said.

Nursing homes should have plans for:

  • Rapid identification and management of sick residents
  • Considerations for visitors and consultant staff
  • Supplies and resources
  • Sick leave policies and other occupational health considerations
  • Education and training
  • Surge capacity for staffing, equipment and supplies, and postmortem care

More on the CDC’s guidance for nursing homes to prepare for Covid-19 is available here.

What Should a Nursing Home Do If a Resident Has Covid-19?

The symptoms of respiratory infection, including COVID-19, are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued interim guidance for infection prevention and control for patients with suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19.

According to the CDC’s updated guidance, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should:

  • Restrict all visitation except for certain compassionate care situations such as end-of-life situations
  • Restrict all volunteers and non-essential healthcare personnel
  • Cancel all group activities and communal dining
  • Implement active screening of residents and healthcare personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms

The CDC said nursing homes should assume Covid-19 is already in their community and take appropriate action.

In other guidance, the CDC suggested that healthcare facilities:

Reduce facility risk by canceling elective procedures and using telemedicine when possible. Nursing homes should limit points of entry and manage visitors, screen all people entering the facility for Covid-19 symptoms and implement source control for everyone entering the facility, regardless of whether they are exhibiting symptoms or not.

Isolate symptomatic patients as soon as possible by setting up separate, well-ventilated triage areas and locating patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 in private rooms with the door closed and with private bathrooms (if possible). Reserve airborne isolation infection rooms for patients with Covid-19 undergoing aerosol generating procedures and for care of patients with pathogens transmitted by the airborne route such as tuberculosis and measles.

Protect healthcare personnel by emphasizing hand hygiene, installing barriers to limit contact with patients at triage, limiting the numbers of staff providing care for Covid-19 patients and prioritizing respirators for aerosol generating procedures.

Infectious Disease in Nursing Homes Isn’t New

More than 4 million Americans are admitted to or reside in nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities each year, and almost one million people live in assisted living facilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infectious disease has always been a threat to residents and patients living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities.

The CDC says it has been estimated in medical literature that:

  • 1 to 3 million serious infections occur every year in long-term care facilities.
  • These infections include urinary tract infections, diarrheal diseases, antibiotic-resistant staph infections and others.
  • Infections are a major cause of hospitalization and death with as many as 380,000 people dying of infections in long-term care facilities every year.

The CDC says the general strategies it recommends to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are the same strategies these facilities use to detect and prevent the spread of other respiratory viruses such as the flu.

To learn more about how our nursing home abuse and negligence attorneys can help you with your Covid-19 claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 367-2900 or using our online form.

 
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