When your loved ones were placed in a nursing home facility, you were led to expect that the team of healthcare providers would provide them the utmost care, no matter the situation. While many Americans have been understanding of the current health crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic, others have concerns about the well-being and care being provided to their elderly loved ones.
Coronavirus has proven to be increasingly deadly to the elderly population, with “80% of US deaths so far have been in those 65 years and older, with the worst outcomes in people 85 and older.”
With the spread of Coronavirus in the United States running particularly rampant in nursing home facilities, there are questions being asked by the families, what could have been done differently and why didn’t it happen?
As with any illness, the nursing home has a legal obligation to implement protocols that follow infectious disease control standards. However, if this is not done properly, or the nursing home facility fails to implement the proper COVID-19 prevention measures, family members have a legal right to file negligence against the facility.
Following the President’s statement of national emergency, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services implemented the following preventative and procedural measures to be followed immediately.
- Restricting all visitors, effective immediately, with exceptions for compassionate care, such as end-of-life situations;
- Restricting all volunteers and nonessential health care personnel and other personnel (i.e. barbers);
- Canceling all group activities and communal dining; and
- Implementing active screening of residents and health care personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms.
In addition to these guidelines, the preventative measures as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus include:
- Disinfecting surfaces frequently
- Medical providers and nursing home staff must wear gloves and masks
- Isolate residents with COVID-19
- Comply with federal regulations to stop the spread of COVID-19
Failure to comply with any combination of these preventative measures may result in a successful elder abuse and nursing home negligence case.
Knowing that the most hard-hit demographic worldwide to suffer from COVID-19 is elderly, there is a reasonable belief that if an elderly nursing home resident exhibits any symptoms of the Coronavirus, there would be adequate measures taken to rule out or diagnose the virus.
If you have noticed a change in your loved one, or that he or she has exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 and measures were not taken to have the individual diagnosed, you may have a case.
Unfortunately, there have already been deaths in our nation caused by COVID-19 that could have been prevented if individuals had taken the proper safety measures. However, when our most at-risk community is also one more in need of medical intervention and supervision, where are they to go for resources?
To illustrate that a nursing home residents death was wrongful, one must prove:
- The death was caused by another’s negligence or with the intent to harm
- That the surviving family members are suffering monetary injury as a result of the death, or
- Had the person survived, they could have received damages due to their injuries.
As more Americans succumb to this horrible illness, more questions will arise on whether the proper actions had been taken to prevent such horrific occurrences.
If you believe your loved one died or suffered a serious injury due to COVID-19 while in the care of a nursing home facility, call us today. We have elder abuse and medical malpractice attorneys all over the nation waiting to take your case.