COVID-19 Exposure in Nursing Homes
When you entrust your loved one to the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility, you have a right to expect that they will do all they can to protect them from harm and life-threatening illnesses.
Unfortunately, for many people who have family members in nursing home facilities, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed flaws in the long-term care system. While these facilities have been charged with protecting the most vulnerable people in our population, some homes have been turned into petri dishes for the virus to flourish and infect our loved ones. Some nursing homes may have actually failed to implement practical and appropriate safety measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and save residents from contracting the illness.
At Spiros Law, P.C. we understand that you are going through a difficult time and trying to find your way through a world with new rules. We are all trying to adjust to life at home, work at home, and school at home. One thing you may never adjust to is living with the knowledge that your loved one died in a nursing home, alone, or wondering if there was something more that could have been done to protect them. The legal team at Spiros Law, P.C. is working with grieving families to determine whether nursing homes or long-term care facilities took the proper precautions to protect their residents from the deadly COVID-19 virus. If you have a family member who died from the COVID-19 virus while in the care of a nursing home facility contact us at (217) 443-4343 for a free consultation.
What is COVID-19 and Why is it Dangerous?
According to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 is a newly discovered type of coronavirus. While there are several different strains of coronavirus, COVID-19 is a new type of highly infectious respiratory disease. Since this is a new and different strain of the virus that has not been seen in humans before, we have no immunity to it. That means the body doesn’t have an effective way to fight the virus.
COVID-19 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 and can also fall onto surfaces. This is why social distancing and disinfecting surfaces have been important steps in trying to mitigate the spread of the virus. Symptoms of the disease 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.
While some people may get a mild case of the virus and be able to weather the worst of it confined at home, others can get more serious symptoms that require hospitalization. Those with underlying medical conditions are most at risk for suffering from complications and death from the virus. Medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer put people at significant risk for complications from COVID-19.
The elderly are at particular risk because many have these types of underlying conditions. The elderly also tend to have weakened immune systems. Medical studies have found that one of the most common consequences of the aging process is a decline in the ability of the immune system to function properly. This combination of factors means that people in community settings like nursing home facilities are the most at-risk group of people for contracting and suffering major complications from a dangerous virus like COVID-19.
How Can Nursing Homes Prevent the Spread of Disease?
The Centers for Disease Control have outlined the steps that nursing homes and long-term care facilities should be taking in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Even before the pandemic that we are currently facing, nursing home facilities are supposed to have a protocol in place that can protect staff and residents from the spread of infections. Some of the recommended measure for keeping residents safe from the virus include:
- Preventing visitors from entering the facility
- Identify and test 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
Why is COVID-19 Spreading in Nursing Homes?
There are a number of different factors that are contributing to the number of cases of COVID-19 within nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Some major news outlets are reporting that government records show the number of cases of COVID-19 may be related to shortages in personal protective equipment, like masks, but also because of failures within the nursing home infrastructure. What does that mean? It means that some facilities failed to prevent the spread of the disease because of poorly trained or improperly trained staff, lax infection control protocol, and substandard quality of care.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak is highlighting the fact that some nursing home facilities are negligent when it comes to providing proper care to the elderly. When negligence claims the life of a cherished family member, the negligent party must be held accountable for their actions. If there are no repercussions, they are free to continue conducting their business as they see fit and other elderly residents may continue to pay the ultimate price.
How Can Spiros Law, P.C. Help My Family During this Crisis?
We understand the pain of your loss. You weren’t ready to lose your loved one, not like this, not under these circumstances. You may think this is where the story ends, but that may not be the case. Medical expenses, emotional distress, final expenses, pain and suffering are examples of the damages you may be entitled to if a nursing home was negligent in the care of your family member during the COVID-19 outbreak.
We know that contacting a lawyer may be the last thing on your mind during this crisis, but we are here for you. The Danville nursing home abuse lawyers at Spiros Law, P.C. want to help you sort out what happened to your loved one and hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Please reach out and call us at (217) 443-4343. We offer a free consultation to go over the facts surrounding your case. Our experienced attorneys can give you the legal advice you need and the emotional support you may lack during this trying time.