Many reasons force people to admit the elderly into nursing homes. No matter the reason, one expects that the nursing home will take great care of the patient. It therefore becomes a great disappointment for one to learn that some of these nursing homes are neglecting the patients they receive.
Now, with the current Covid-19 pandemic, negligence in nursing homes is a matter of great concern. Why? Because this disease has been reported to have a high mortality rate amongst the elderly who have weak immune systems. If the elderly in these homes are not sensitized and protected from the coronavirus, then these nursing homes could quickly become a hotbed of disaster.
But what if negligence in the nursing homes leads to the spread of the coronavirus and consequentially the death of patients? Can one sue them in the courts of law? Let us take an in-depth look into this matter.
Nursing home negligence and Covid-19
As much as the government is advising people not to leave their homes, and to maintain some social distancing, some situations may force you to either get admitted into a nursing home or have someone enrolled there. But there’s a lot you have to take into account considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s some advice for you to follow:
Do not panic.
The most important thing for you to do is not to panic, even though the virus can be spread from one individual to another, there is a low chance that you or your elderly relative will contact it as long as you’ve followed the guidelines and policies set to reduce its spread. If going to a nursing home is paramount for the recovery of your relative, then proceed to enroll them there but take the following into account:
What’s the patient’s risk profile
Is the person suffering from other illnesses, such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or obesity? How strong or weak is their immune system? These are some of the questions that you should answer before enrolling a senior citizen into a nursing home. Keep in mind that it has been reported that those with terminal conditions and weak immune systems are more likely to succumb to Covid-19.
It is essential to point out that there is no proof showing that elderly persons are more likely to contract Covid-19. What’s clear is that the effects that this disease has on senior citizens are more severe and more likely to lead to death.
What measures does the nursing home have in place to control Covid-19? Is the facility following those measures? Does the facility have the capacity to isolate patients that may test positive for Covid-19?
You can also ask about how the last outbreak in that facility was handled just to give you a picture of capable the facility is to control a covid-19 outbreak.
Make your own observations
Aside from asking questions, you can also make your observations. Do staff in the facility wash and sanitize their hands every time they come into contact with a resident? Are there signs in the facility that help to educate residents and nurses on how to protect themselves from contracting Covid-19? How are visitors processed before they are allowed to visit their relatives in the facility?
By observing the above, you will have a clear picture of how the facility will handle Covid-19 and whether your relative will be safe under the care of that facility. However, if a facility meets all the above standards, it does not mean that there will be no negligence.
Impact of Covid-19 on Nursing Homes
With the apparent impact that covid-19 has on the elderly, this Covid-19 pandemic is already hitting nursing facilities really hard. Most recently, Life Care Centre, a nursing home in Washington, recorded 29 deaths after the facility got it hit by the Covid-19 outbreak. If something is not done to eliminate the negligence in nursing homes, then we are bound to hear several similar reports.
Death is an unfortunate happening, and there’s nothing that can be done to reverse it. But when it is brought about by the negligence of the caregivers, then something can be done to hold those responsible accountable. And the best way to do so is by filing a lawsuit against the nursing home. The Hartman Law Firm, LLC, is here to help you get justice if the death of your loved one is caused by negligence.
Would a lawsuit hold up in court?
Yes, it would. With all honesty, it is not justifiable to fault a nursing home every time an older adult gets infected. But in the case of Covid-19, how the facility responded to the infection matters a lot. Did they follow guidelines to ensure that the virus was not transmitted to other persons? Was enough care given to the infected persons? If it can be proven that the nursing home did not follow federal regulations in combating the virus, then chances of a successful lawsuit are high.
How is Nursing Home Negligence Proved?
A nursing home must provide required care of an acceptable standard in the medical and nursing home care industry. It is possible to prove negligence in a nursing home if there is evidence showing that the nursing home did not perform standard care to the patient as is required. Also, there has to be a direct link showing that it was negligence that caused the injury or wrongful death. It is important to note that there are cases where you will find that a nurse followed all the Covid-19 guidelines and did not breach their duty of care to the patient, but still, the patient dies from the disease. In this case, it is not possible to hold the nursing home responsible for death.
Causes of neglect in nursing homes
Nursing homes are dedicated to serving the elderly, what then could lead to the negligence we witness? Here are some of the reasons that we found.
A large number of nursing homes in Charleston face the problem of being understaffed. When the nursing homes have few employees to meet the needs of the patients, then those that are available become overburdened, which forces them to be negligent. As the workload exceeds what the staff expects to do, they become stressed, exhausted, and lose the morale to work. If you are looking for a nursing home to take your elderly during this Coronavirus outbreak, please ensure that the facility has the capacity to attend to the needs of all its residents.
II. Negligent hiring
One of the mistakes that the HR department in nursing facilities do is hiring the wrong people to serve the elderly. Nursing homes should focus on hiring only those individuals that have the heart and determination to help even worse comes to worst in these homes. We have seen the amount of work that’s needed to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, and for some people, it can be too much to handle, which leads to negligence in nursing facilities.
III. Lack of proper training
Caregivers in nursing homes who are not well trained tend to be more negligent compared to those with adequate training. Lack of proper training can often lead to the wrong administration of drugs and sometimes mishandling of the residents.
Coronavirus is a new virus, and as such, all people that provide care need to be adequately trained on how to handle those with the disease and also how to protect others from getting infected.
IV. Poor pay to attendants
It is a fact that most attendants in nursing facilities become negligent once they feel like they are not being paid enough. And this is a common problem with public nursing homes. However, poor pay is not an excuse for any employee to neglect their duties. If their negligence leads to your relative being infected with Covid-19, then you have all the right to sue them.
How then can negligence in nursing homes be prevented during this Covid-19 pandemic?
It is essential to point out that negligence is mostly caused by inaction. Therefore, proper planning can go a long way in preventing this. Here are some other ways through which nursing homes can prevent negligence.
- Hire enough caregivers to meet all the needs of the facility
- Train staff regularly especially in times like now
- Nursing homes should carry out proper screening on persons before hiring them
Additionally, nursing homes should put in place stringent measures like limiting visits so as to protect their residents. Failure to do so can be considered as negligence.
Signs of neglect in a nursing home
As we have pointed out, negligence in nursing homes is quite dangerous to the health of the residents, especially during this coronavirus outbreak. You can easily know a facility that’s faced with negligence if you notice that:
i. Residents have poor hygiene
Most older people in nursing homes require assistance with their personal care, such as making their hair and even taking a shower. A nursing home with negligence problems will tend to have older people with poor hygiene.
ii. Unsanitary environment
A dirty environment and other necessities like beddings and clothes are a clear indicator of a nursing home with neglect issues. If this is the case, it will become impossible to stop the spread of diseases like Covid-19. In this case, the nursing home can be held accountable for any injury or death that may occur.
iii. Poor nutrition
Malnutrition is also another sign of negligence in a nursing home. And as we’ve already stated, Covid-19 deaths are high in elderly people because of their weak immune systems. Therefore, caregivers have to ensure that the residents are receiving nutritious meals.
iv. Unexplained Injuries
A common trend in neglectful nursing homes is that they rarely catch, report, or even take action against abuse to elderly people under their care. This often leads to increased injuries among the residents.
Why should you get a lawyer?
There are two main reasons as to why you should get an attorney to help you in filing for a wrongful death lawsuit for your relative who had tested positive for Covid-19. They include:
Ø Negligence is not easy to prove
Unlike road accidents and other risks where it is easy to establish the cause, negligence can be difficult for you to prove. Litigating such a case requires a proper understanding of the legal system and knowing what evidence to collect and present in your defense. It is important to note that the litigation process is always tricky, and one has to remain focused lest they lose the case. That I why you need the help of The Hartman Law Firm, LLC. Frank Hartman has enough expertise in handling wrongful death lawsuits, which will help in the successful litigation of your case.
Ø You are grieving
Losing your loved one can break your heart and worse when someone’s negligence has caused their death. As indicated above, prosecuting such a case requires extreme focus, and with your unstable emotional state, it will be impossible to remain focused. That’s why you should get a professional lawyer to handle the lawsuit and take the time to mourn your loss.
As the attorney has no personal connection with your case, they can think clearly and build a strong case for your lawsuit.
Why The Hartman Law Firm
If you are wondering why work with Frank Hartman, here is one of the reasons why; You only pay after winning. Unlike other law firms that charge you before the case has been concluded, Frank Hartman will only charge you for his services at the end of the process and only if you win the lawsuit.
Covid-19 has really shaken the world, and though it has a low mortality rate, it still causes death. In the US alone, there are 68,774 Coronavirus Cases, with 1037 deaths, and 428 recovered cases. Since there is no known medication or vaccine, the best chance we have at beating it is by following the control measures for minimizing its spread.
Remember, if your loved one in a nursing home tests positive for Covid-19 and suffers a wrongful death because of negligence, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the facility.
Frank Hartman will fight for fair and reasonable compensation for your injuries.
To get started, call Frank 24/7 at (843) 300-7600. Or, you can contact him online, or email him at email@example.com. The sooner you get Frank on your case, the sooner you’ll get your settlement and start on the road to recovery