COVID-19 Exposure in Nursing Homes
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities are places where the elderly can go for professional medical care, compassionate treatment, and social enrichment. Families trust these facilities to manage the care and health of their loved ones, care that they are unable to provide at home. Unfortunately, some families are finding out that there are nursing homes where the elderly are subjected to substandard care exposing them to the scourge of our generation, COVID-19. While loved ones shelter-in-place and try to protect themselves from this deadly virus, our most vulnerable community members are being exposed to infection. Their bodies don’t have the ability to fight off this virus and they are paying the price.
At Spiros Law, P.C. we know this is a scary time for you and your family. You’ve been robbed of a precious family member by this virus, then you were robbed of the ability to properly say good-bye and grieve. While legal help may be the last thing on your mind right now, you should know that if you lost a loved one to COVID-19 while they were in the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility, you may be entitled to compensation to help with their medical bills and final expenses.
COVID-19 may have claimed the life of your loved one, but if a nursing home facility was negligent in their care and preventing the spread of infection, they need to be held accountable. Call us today at (217) 328-2828 for a free consultation. Let our experienced attorneys walk you through your rights.
What is COVID-19 and How Does it Impact the Elderly?
The World Health Organization calls COVID-19 a newly discovered type of coronavirus. There are several different strains of coronavirus, but this is a new type of highly infectious respiratory disease that has never been observed in humans before.
COVID-19 is highly infectious because it is spread through droplets that are released into the air when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets can spread several feet through the air when expelled from the mouth or nose. Breathing in these droplets can lead to infection. The droplets can also fall onto surfaces. If you then touch the surface and then your nose, mouth, or even eyes, you may also contract the virus. Therefore, social distancing and disinfecting hard surfaces are important steps in trying to stop the spread of the virus.
Symptoms of the disease can include cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, and headache. The incubation period for the virus is about 14 days, which means the symptoms can start to manifest in people within 14 days of exposure to the virus. More serious cases of the virus can lead to severe respiratory difficulties, kidney failure, and death.
Individuals with underlying medical conditions are most at risk for suffering from complications and even death due to the COVID-19 virus. Some of the medical problems that can be of particular concern include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer. The elderly are one of the most vulnerable populations for complications from the virus because many of them have these types of underlying health concerns. Medical studies have also found that the immune system weakens with age. Many residents are in nursing home facilities because they have health concerns that may be hard to address in a home setting. Pair that with the normal decline in immune function because of age and nursing home residents are one of the most at-risk populations for contracting and dying from COVID-19.
How Can Nursing Homes Prevent the Spread of Disease?
The spread of disease and infection is not something new to nursing home facilities. While this COVID-19 pandemic is unique and unprecedented, nursing homes and long-term care facilities should already have in place a set of protocols for dealing with preventing the spread of disease. The Centers for Disease Control have even gone so far as to outline what further steps nursing homes should be taking in order to care for and protect their residents. A few of those recommended measures include:
- Preventing visitors from entering the facility
- Identify and test residents for infections early
- Implement stricter sanitation requirements
- Implement social distancing guidelines for residents
- All staff should be equipped with masks and personal protective equipment
- Isolate infected residents
- Sick staff should be required to stay at home
These are straightforward and common-sense measures that can help prevent the spread of the virus through a vulnerable community.
Why is COVID-19 Spreading in Nursing Homes?
A number of different factors may come into play when it comes to how and why COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire through some nursing home facilities. There are major news outlets that are reporting how government records show the number of cases of COVID-19 may be related to shortages in personal protective equipment, like masks. Front-line staff and working may not have the equipment they need to protect themselves and their residents from the spread of the virus.
Other, more unnerving evidence finds that some facilities are failing to prevent the spread of the disease because they employ poorly trained or improperly trained staff, have lax infection control protocol, neglect patients, and offer a substandard quality of care. Other factors may also include overworked staff members or having an understaffed facility.
The COVID-19 outbreak is shining a huge spotlight on the fact that some nursing homes are negligent when it comes to providing their residents with quality medical care. During the best of time, during the worst of times, nursing homes and long-term care facilities are required to provide residents with a safe place to live and quality medical care. When negligence leads to a failure in that department the nursing home must be held accountable. There is no excuse for letting the elderly residents dependent on that care pay the ultimate price.
How Can Spiros Law, P.C. Help My Family During this Crisis?
During this global pandemic, you may feel isolated, hopeless, that there is no one to turn to right now after the death of a cherished loved one. At Spiros Law, P.C. we want to reassure you that we are here and will listen to you. We understand that you are devastated by the passing of your family member. This is not how you expect this to happen, perhaps there was a chance that it didn’t have to happen this way at all.
If your loved one died of COVID-19 or you suspect they died of COVID-19 while in the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility contact an experienced Champaign nursing home abuse attorney at Spiros Law, P.C. today. You may be eligible to hold the nursing home responsible for negligent actions and recover compensation for medical bills, final expenses, and pain and suffering. Call us at (217) 328-2828 for a free consultation. We are willing to listen and our hearts are open.