IN THE NEWS: NURSING HOMES WITH COVID-19 CASES HAVE BEEN VIOLATING FEDERAL INFECTION CONTROL RULES FOR YEARS
After more than 40 years helping families deal with the tragic results of nursing home abuse and neglect, at Ramey & Hailey Law, we’re not surprised (appalled would be more like it) by the recent headline in the Washington Post. (Back in February of this year, we commented on the special investigative report published in the Indianapolis Star highlighting Indiana’s failing grade on staffing levels in nursing homes.) Any wonder that these already understaffed nursing homes are failing to competently deal with the coronavirus emergency?
Pre-COVID-19, Washington Post reporters explain, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found infection control deficiencies, but classified them as “low level” concerns., which did not trigger penalties or fines. Now, all too late, federal inspectors are finding that careless practices are resulting in outbreaks of respiratory illness and deaths. Tragic results have stemmed from the following practices in nursing homes across the country:
- staff failing to follow hand-washing procedures
- improper disposal of wound care materials or soiled linens
- improper caution in handling food service
Here in Indiana, COVID-19 deaths tied to nursing homes account for more than 36% of the state total, the Indianapolis Star reports. Still, state officials rely on the nursing homes themselves and other long-term care facilities to report information to residents’ families.
“Research supports that family involvement during a nursing home stay can help ensure that the facility provides quality care,” the National Consumer Voice states. Within seven days of the initial assessment of a nursing home patient, a team consisting of the attending physician, nurse, nurse aide, activities and dietary staff develops a plan. “It is important that the team have critical input from the resident and/or family members”. In today’s Coronavirus situation, that level of communication is obviously not happening.
“Faced with 20,000 Coronavirus deaths and counting, the nation’s nursing homes are pushing back against a potential flood of lawsuits,” ABC New York reports. At Ramey & Hailey, where our attorneys have more than 40 years’ experience dealing with nursing home neglect and abuse, we find that people often turn to us for help only long after they realize their elderly loved one has become a victim.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a situation that reveals the terrible price of silent acceptance. When it can be shown that either neglect or abuse of a patient has taken place in a facility, our mission becomes to hold the owners of that facility legally liable. Call us at 317 582 0000. There is the potential to recover damages through a civil lawsuit, and, as important, to stop the abuse and neglect from continuing to happen.