COVID-19 in Nursing Homes
Nationwide Coronavirus Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, nursing homes have become hot spots for coronavirus/COVID-19 exposure. Reports have shown that COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been disproportionately high, with coronavirus-related fatality rates in nursing homes also reaching disturbing levels.
In all instances, nursing homes and other elderly care facilities have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their residents. When caregivers and staff fail to follow proper standards of care, residents suffer. As we’ve seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, this means an increased risk of exposure, illness, and death.
If you believe your elderly loved one was exposed to, contracted, or died from COVID-19 due to substandard nursing home care, reach out to the Smith Clinesmith Firm right away. Our Dallas nursing home coronavirus attorneys can investigate your claim and determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit against the nursing home or long-term care facility. We are currently accepting cases involving improper nursing home care and coronavirus on behalf of clients throughout the United States.
Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a member of our team. We are currently offering remote legal services in accordance with COVID-19 safety practices.
Safety Measures Nursing Homes Should Take to Prevent COVID-19
While there is nothing new about illnesses and infections sweeping through nursing homes, ongoing reports have shown a correlation between advanced age and severe illness and death related to COVID-19. The risk of severe complications for elderly individuals, particularly those with preexisting respiratory illnesses, is extremely high.
Nursing homes should always enact proper safety procedures and sanitary standards to prevent the spread of illness and infection among residents and staff. This has never been more important than now.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all nursing home and long-term care facilities should enact the following safety measures in order to prevent COVID-19:
- Designate at least one full-time, on-site individual with training on infection prevention and control (IPC) to manage the facility’s COVID-19 prevention and response methods
- Report all cases of COVID-19, as well as issues involving supplies and staffing, to the National Healthcare Safety Network Long-Term Care Facility COVID-19 Module on a weekly basis
- Provide education for all residents, staff, healthcare personnel, and facility visitors regarding COVID-19 and the precautions the facility is currently taking to address/prevent it
- Ensure that residents, staff, visitors, and healthcare personnel have and use proper personal protective equipment (PPE), such as facemasks, at all times
- Create and implement a plan for visitors, including visitor restrictions, and disseminate this information to residents, staff, family members, and others
- Regularly test residents, staff, and healthcare personnel for coronavirus symptoms; e.g. take temperatures, monitor residents for respiratory illness, etc.
- Educate individuals on and encourage proper hygiene, such as frequently washing hands and/or using hand sanitizer, covering sneezes and coughs, using PPE, etc.
- Implement social distancing measures, such as eliminating group activities, ensuring residents remain physically apart, etc.
- Designate an area of the facility that can be used to house and care for individuals exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19
These are just some of the many safety measures nursing homes can and should implement to ensure the safety of their residents, staff, and visitors. There is no excuse for failing to take the proper steps to limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure or for providing residents with substandard care.
Because COVID-19 poses such a high risk of severe illness and death, especially for seniors and those with respiratory and other underlying conditions, it is critical that you know and quickly respond to the signs of COVID-19.
In elderly individuals, coronavirus symptoms often include:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain/pressure
While these are some of the most common signs of coronavirus, symptoms vary widely among different individuals. Additionally, COVID-19 symptoms may be different in older individuals, according to numerous reports. Notably, the CDC reports that coronavirus-related fever in adults aged 65 and over may be lower than coronavirus-related fever in younger adults and children, due to the fact that older adults may have a lower normal body temperature.
Proving Nursing Home Negligence in COVID-19 Cases
Even if you suspect that your loved one contracted or died from COVID-19 due to improper nursing home care, it can be incredibly difficult to prove that this was, in fact, the case. Unfortunately, proving negligence is key to a successful nursing home neglect claim; if you are unable to establish that your loved one contracted COVID-19 because of a nursing home’s failure to provide proper care, you will not be able to bring a claim.
The difficulty in proving negligence in nursing home COVID-19 cases often stems from the fact that COVID-19 is currently so widespread. This makes it extremely difficult to prove where an individual contracted the virus. Additionally, asymptomatic carriers—those who have coronavirus but do not show symptoms—cannot be accounted for, meaning you may have considerable difficulty proving that your loved one did not contract COVID-19 from such an individual.
However, this does not mean it is impossible to prove that a nursing home was responsible for your loved one’s coronavirus-related illness or death. At the Smith Clinesmith Firm, we are prepared to conduct exhaustive investigations into the nursing home’s COVID-19 practices, including whether recommended guidelines and standards were followed. If we find that the nursing home was negligent in implementing or enforcing proper safety protocols, we could be able to establish that this is what led to your loved one contracting the virus.
Some examples of possible evidence of nursing home neglect leading to COVID-19 include:
- Internal memos and reports revealing failure to follow proper sanitization procedures
- Medical records showing COVID-19 symptoms/diagnoses of residents or staff
- Records showing visits from vendors, family members, and other outside sources
- Proof of employee call-outs due to illness/coronavirus-related symptoms
Fighting for the Full, Fair Compensation You Deserve
At the Smith Clinesmith Firm, we believe that negligent nursing homes should be held accountable for the harm, pain, and suffering they cause—especially during a pandemic when the stakes are so much higher. Our experienced Dallas coronavirus nursing home neglect lawyers are ready to answer your questions, investigate your case, and fight for you and your family. We can help you seek compensation for medical care costs, emotional distress, funeral expenses, and more.
Get started with a free initial consultation today; call (877) 976-8411.
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