Some groups are more at risk of serious health conditions after contracting the coronavirus. These groups include the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. As such, nursing homes present a unique challenge for protecting people against COVID-19. Nursing homes are densely populated with elderly people who, more often than not, have underlying health conditions. For this reason, preventing the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes is of the utmost importance. Failing to address nursing home coronavirus preparation may lead to devastating consequences.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arizona Assisted Living Homes Association (AALHA) have released guidelines to help long-term care facilities and nursing homes prepare for this new disease. Below we discuss the guidelines released by the CDC and the AALHA.
HOW IS ARIZONA NURSING HOME CORONAVIRUS PREPARATION PROTECTING MY LOVED ONE?
Various health organizations have released guidelines to help nursing home facilities prevent the spread of COVID-19. Since nursing homes owe their residents a duty of reasonable care, following these guidelines is strongly recommended. However, individual facilities can decide to what extent they engage in nursing home coronavirus preparation.
The CDC’s checklist includes precautions such as:
- Making alcohol-based hand sanitizer available in every resident room and common areas
- Keeping sinks well-stocked with soap and paper towels
- Placing signs by every resident rooms about the required personal protective equipment
- Making personal protective equipment available outside of resident rooms and common areas
- Providing tissues and face masks at the facility’s entrances
- Frequently cleaning high-touch surfaces or shared equipment with hospital-grade disinfectants
- Putting procedures in place to test and monitor residents for COVID-19 and respiratory infection daily
- Putting procedures in place to quarantine infected residents
- Creating criteria to limit or restrict outside visitors from entering the facility
- Developing processes for remote communication between residents and outside visitors
The Arizona Assisted Living Homes Association has also released a set of recommended guidelines. This organization strongly advises facilities to develop procedures for all employees, including:
- Wash hands thoroughly and often
- Do not reuse gloves between residents
- Continually clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
- Isolate residents or other staff members who display symptoms of COVID-19
- Stay home from work if displaying COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms
- Post signs advising resident families and employees about COVID-19 policies
- Limit outside visits to only those which are essential
- Limit residents from leaving the facility to only essential trips
- Encourage the use of telemedicine for medical appointments
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY LOVED ONE GETS SICK DUE TO NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE?
When a nursing home accepts residents into its facilities, the home is agreeing to uphold a certain standard of care. Doing so means that the nursing home will protect the safety and wellbeing of residents to the extent that it reasonably can. Nursing home abuse, or elder abuse, occurs when this standard is not upheld. Failing to administer the appropriate elder care during the coronavirus outbreak may constitute a breach in this standard of care. A nursing home with coronavirus outbreak may have acted negligently by failing to follow the recommended COVID-19 guidelines. In this case, the facility or its staff members may be legally liable for the harm caused to residents.
SUSPECT NURSING HOME NEGLECT? DISCUSS YOUR CASE WITH A TRUSTED NURSING HOME NEGLECT LAWYER
While the coronavirus is a novel disease, nursing home management should always act in the best interest of the health and wellbeing of their residents. A failure to do so may constitute grounds for a valid legal claim for damages.
If you suspect your loved one has suffered nursing home neglect, contact our firm for a free consultation. Our firm serves clients in Phoenix and across the state of Arizona. To discuss the details of your situation and determine your legal options, give us a call at (602) 648-4045.