How Nursing Homes Have Become A Hotbed Of Coronavirus In the United States
The United States has been hit particularly hard by the virus known as COVID-19, or commonly referred to as the Coronavirus. It is debatable as to why this has occurred, yet there is no doubt that those that live in nursing homes and other residential facilities are bearing the biggest brunt, including nursing homes here in Nevada. The older the population, the more they are at risk of not only contracting the virus but facing the most severe of symptoms, up to and including death. This health crisis hasn’t been addressed in a manner that reflects its seriousness and should be something that anyone with a loved one in a nursing home facility should definitely consider, since a nursing home facility is legally obligated to take measures to stop the spread of infectious disease among residence. Failure to do so can constitute a form of elder abuse & neglect, especially in the case of coronavirus which can lead to a multitude of complications or even a wrongful and untimely death.
What Happened in Nursing Homes During COVID-19?
The first move to attempt to address the problem was to prevent family members from visiting loved ones. Unfortunately, this removed the supervision that loved ones could provide to ensure that their loved ones were being cared for properly. Loved ones are often the first to spot signs of neglect & abuse in their elders, They did not have the ability to ensure that these nursing homes were taking adequate precautions to protect the residents and had no idea of the conditions that they were living in. This not only caused a great deal of anxiety for those that were living in these places but for those that would usually be able to ensure that their loved ones were healthy, well, and given the life-saving measures that they deserved.
The Virus Spreads in Nursing Home Populations
It very soon became apparent that even though visitors were not allowed to see their family members, the virus was spreading quickly and in a deadly manner. The risk of coronavirus in nursing homes was clear as early as April 2020. Of those that have died in the United States from this deadly and unforgiving virus, up to 40% of them were living in nursing homes when they contracted the virus. Hearing numbers like these can be extremely concerning and even traumatic.
The fact of the matter is that every facility handled the threats of this virus very differently.
- Some enforced the use of masks and other personal protective equipment very early on. Others did not.
- Some enforced social distancing guidelines as recommended by the CDC for both residents and caregivers. Others did not.
- Some tested their employees heavily to ensure that employees weren’t coming to work while contagious while others did not.
- Some used other methods, such as checking all of the employees’ temperatures daily, as a means to identify those that might be ill with the virus and ensure that they did not have any contact with their residents.
Of course, there were many facilities that did not have the resources or means to do any of these things, and were simply not prepared for a respiratory virus of this magnitude. Regardless, it is clear now that some acted quickly while others did not and that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths that did not need to occur.
What comes from these discrepancies is whether or not your loved one may have been subjected to a situation that led to their untimely death, which a form of wrongful death in the nursing home. This is because the patient may have avoided illness and complications leading to their death if not for the poor response of those that controlled the facility in which they lived. The CDC made it very clear that only the strictest of disease protocols should be used in any care facility. This is true for hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and, most importantly, nursing homes. It was well established before the disease even hit the United States that the older populations were the most vulnerable when it came to contracting this illness. The biggest indicator of risk was whether or not the individual had a pre-existing condition, and clearly anyone that resides in a nursing home has at least one condition that they are already battling in an effort to stay alive.
Can The Nursing Home Be Held Liable for Coronavirus Deaths?
In some states, laws have been passed to protect facilities like nursing homes and group residences from liability surrounding coronavirus, but in Nevada this is not the case: nursing homes may still be held responsible for a lapse in their coronavirus response. This is where it comes down to understanding the protective measures that were used in the facility in which your loved one had lived before they had passed. There are some important questions that should be answered.
- Were all staff members wearing masks from the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in the United States?
- Were staff members given tests, or encouraged to take tests, to determine whether or not they had COVID-19?
- Were proper social distancing guidelines enforced on residents and staff, including moving suspected infectious patients away from other residents?
- Were disinfecting protocols used and significantly increased at the facility?
- Were any staff or residents who tested positive immediately removed from the facility?
- Were patients exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus including fever, sore throat, and malaise sufficiently examined and referred to medical professionals and authorities?
- Did the facility report their coronavirus cases and fatalities to state authorities in a timely manner?
Any of these simple acts of neglect could have led to the deaths of thousands that would still be here to enjoy time with their families.
It is hard to imagine that those that you trusted with the life of your loved one would be so careless in their actions. Sadly, it is becoming more clear over time that it was the case in countless facilities, including facilities in Las Vegas, NV. They were poorly equipped to deal with the situation and were not investing the time in learning about the best measures to take. In the end, many were more worried about their bottom line and potential losses than what happened to those they were supposed to be caring for.
If you have any reason to believe that your loved one faced an untimely death due to the negligence of the nursing home in which they were residing it is best to take action immediately. By hiring an attorney you can have the expertise on your side to better understand what exactly led to their death and whether or not it could have been avoided. You trusted them, and deserve to know and receive compensation if they were at fault for the death of someone you cared for.
We Can Help You
- Determine if there is neglect or abuse taking place
- Gather concrete evidence of abuse or neglect
- File the necessary paperwork
- Consult with medical experts on the true costs of treatment and long-term care
- See your case through either to trial or to a settlement