On April 19th, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported that there were 258 nursing homes affected by COVID-19 across the state. Releasing the names of these facilities to the public, the CDPH also noted that 10% of the hardest-hit facilities were located in the Bay Area – and that more than half of these nursing homes are located in Los Angeles County, with the total currently at 148 facilities affected.
Despite early action taken by California officials to shut down the state and implement social distancing guidelines, the most populous cities have continued to see a steady flow of new COVID-19 infections, with thousands of new cases popping up every day. Although seniors face the most serious fatality and infection risks, California hospitals were even allowed to discharge COVID-19 patients to nursing home facilities up until March 30th, until outcry from the medical community halted this directive. This action – along with negligence and neglect at many nursing homes – may have contributed to the dangerous increase of cases in California Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs).
How Can Nursing Homes Protect Residents from COVID-19?
To protect nursing home residents from preventable infection and death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued extensive guidelines to help long-term care facilities and nursing homes prepare for the coronavirus. While nursing home facilities were already required to observe basic infection control procedures (especially for at-risk seniors and dependent adults), the new CDC guidelines provide detailed insight into how the virus can be halted.
To avoid causing unnecessary infections and deaths, nursing homes must do the following:
- Report all confirmed COVID-19 cases to the CDC within 12 hours
- Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare providers and require all visitors to wear masks
- Maintain hygiene by providing hand sanitizer, hand washing stations, and regular disinfection of equipment and surfaces
- Require nursing home workers to stay home when ill or showing symptoms
- Isolate and evaluate all residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Cancel resident activities and follow other social distancing measures
- Test visitors and guests for signs of coronavirus
In addition to the recommendations listed above, the CDC guidelines detail many other ways that nursing homes can combat the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, given the existing staffing problems at many of America’s nursing homes, it is likely that these facilities will continue to see the highest rates of coronavirus infection and death.
Advocating for Victims of Nursing Home Neglect
During this difficult time, it’s even more important to hold nursing homes to a high standard of care and ensure that our nation’s seniors are given the attention and treatment they deserve. Whether a nursing home has denied emergency medical services, refused to notify you about a loved one’s COVID-19 infection, or violated social distancing guidelines, you may have the right to pursue legal action if your elderly loved one suffers a wrongful death due to negligence and/or elder abuse.
At Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, our hearts go out to all those who have prematurely lost a cherished family member to a preventable COVID-19 infection. With dedicated advocacy, we will fight to hold negligent nursing home facilities accountable for failing to protect residents, applying over 100 years of combined experience to your claim in Los Angeles, California, or nationwide.
Contact us at (866) 634-4525 if you suspect that staff negligence contributed to your loved one’s passing. We are available for free remote consultations throughout this crisis.