In just the past two weeks, the number of nursing home deaths worldwide has risen at an alarming rate.
Nursing Home Death Rate Skyrockets
The Associated Press has been monitoring media reports and state health departments for information about COVID-19’s death toll within nursing homes. Ten days ago, their latest count stood at about 450 deaths. Now, the total is up to at least 2,646. Experts believe that this number may not even account for the deaths of individuals who had never been tested for COVID-19.
Within the past few weeks, the outbreak has reached a nursing home in suburban Richmond, killing 39 and infecting 84; a nursing home in central Indiana, killing 24 and infecting 16; and a nursing home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, killing 37 and infecting 76.
These incidents are only the reported outbreaks. Because most states provide only the total number of residents’ deaths without specific details of why they died, many cases could have gone unreported.
Some experts believe chronic staffing shortages in nursing homes has made the coronavirus crisis more crippling. Despite steps taken by the federal government to cease all group activities, the death rate continues to skyrocket.
This past week, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued recommendations urging nursing homes to use separate staging teams for residents and to designate separate facilities within nursing homes to keep infected residents away from the uninfected.
What Measures do Nursing Homes Typically Take to Prevent Infections and Outbreaks?
When an infection control protocol is implemented at a nursing home or long-term care facility, workers across all programs, services, and setting collaborate with the goal of:
- Minimizing the risk of infection in individual residents
- Reduce the risk of transmission among and between residents and healthcare workers
- Reduce the risk of injections developing in residents related to the use of medical devices and procedures required as part of their care
To accomplish this, the facility will rely on surveillance, ongoing analysis of surveillance data, appropriate infection prevention procedures, and monitoring the adherence to these procedures by all department and individuals working with the facility.
As part of infection control protocol a nursing home may:
- Implement stricter sanitation requirements: Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and objects is a must when it comes to controlling the spread of a virus like coronavirus (COVID-19). Failure to take reasonable measures to disinfect all tables, chairs, beds, and surfaces could constitute nursing home neglect.
- Change equipment requirements: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that all healthcare workers in nursing homes and assisted living facilities wear masks to prevent the spread of ccoronavirus (COVID-19). If a nursing home has failed to provide masks to all aides, nurses, and healthcare workers, then negligence may have occurred.
- Isolate potentially infected residents: Isolation and quarantine are among the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). If a resident showed symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and was not isolated from other at-risk residents, then negligence may have occurred.
Unfortunately, attempts to respond to an outbreak can be hampered and hindered by lack of appropriate training and limited resources. What matters when is comes to negligence in a nursing home is whether the facility and its staff took reasonable measures to respond to and control the outbreak.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
If you suspect that a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect at a nursing home, contact Thomas J. Henry immediately. It can often be difficult to prove a nursing home’s negligence in the case of abuse or neglect. That’s why it is important to hire a personal injury law firm with the experienced lawyers and financial resources necessary to properly develop your case. Thomas J. Henry has helped victims achieve the compensation they deserve for more than two decades.
We will fight on your family’s behalf, ensure you receive excellent and dynamic representation, and bring the nursing home and their staff to justice. Contact us today for a case review, free of charge. Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide.