Nursing Home Abuse Cases Related To COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way of life for just about everybody across the United States. This global health crisis has been particularly devastating for those inside nursing homes. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who are aged 65 and older and those who have certain chronic health conditions are much more at risk uh becoming seriously ill due to the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, those who reside in long term care facilities and nursing homes face significant risks due to this virus. However, we want to take a closer look at how the current pandemic has affected nursing home residents and their staff. Particularly, our Nashville personal injury attorneys want to explore whether you may have legal options if your loved one may have been exposed to COVID-19 due to the facility’s negligent actions.

Nursing homes have sought legal immunity

It is alarming that many nursing homes have failed to protect their residents from COVID-19. As of late August 2020, there have been nearly 190,000 confirmed and around 115,000 suspected COVID-19 cases in nursing homes throughout the country. Nearly 50,000 nursing home residents have died due to the coronavirus.

In Tennessee, there have been 468 nursing home facilities with at least one case of COVID-19 diagnosed. In total, there have been nearly 3,000 nursing home resident COVID-19 cases in Tennessee. Out of these, there have been more than 430 deaths. Data from state officials also shows that there have been more than 2,700 nursing home staff COVID-19 cases.

One of the reasons that nursing homes have become hot spots, aside from residents being more vulnerable to the virus, is that nursing homes have become woefully inadequate at monitoring and controlling infections over the last few years, according to a recent study cited by USA TODAY.

Nursing homes in various states across the country have lobbied for provisions from government officials that would grant them legal immunity from liability related to resident COVID-19 exposure. However, nursing home resident advocates call this type of immunity “a license to neglect.”

Protecting your loves ones

All nursing home staff must take steps to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within their facilities. This is particularly important for facilities that allow in-person visits. The state of Tennessee issued various guidelines to nursing homes that choose to reopen to visitors. This includes:

  • Testing all staff and residents at least one time as well as compliance with regulations regarding weekly staff re-testing.
  • No new COVID-19 cases in residents or staff members in the previous 28 days.
  • Compliance with Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities regulations and infection control guidelines.
  • Overall stability of COVID-19 in the community surrounding where the facility is located.

Nursing home facilities that do allow visitation must do so by appointment only and limit the duration of visits. They are also required to limit the number of visitors per resident and per day at the facility. Anybody who comes into a nursing home must practice social distancing and wear a mask, and nursing home staff should screen all visitors for symptoms of COVID-19.