COVID-19 Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Washington DC
The first death from COVID-19 in the United States occurred in early February of 2020. Since then, more than 500,000 Americans have died from the virus, 136,000 of which have occurred in nursing homes – both residents and caregivers.
Nursing homes are particularly ripe grounds for the virus to attack, as the elderly are especially vulnerable to the disease. Still, nursing homes have a legal duty to ensure the safety of their residents. This means that nursing homes must adjust to the circumstances brought about as a result of coronavirus, and take measures to prevent exposure and mass infection.
Even before COVID-19 upended almost every country on the globe, nursing homes were notorious for being plagued with problems. Geriatrics – the branch of medicine concerned with the health and care of the elderly – has the fewest nurses. Nursing homes have inflexible sick leave policies, so employees may feel obligated to come to work for fear of losing their job. Insufficient staffing leads to several other problems, like slow responses to calls, having under-trained employees take on roles they should not, and possibly missing medicine administration to residents.
As we have heard by now, one of the safest actions a person can take to reduce risk of COVID-19 exposure is to reduce the amount of people one interacts with. This means that fewer nurses are permitted in nursing homes, which leads to an already under-staffed team taking on a higher workload, leading to more errors. The home might continue to grant access to non-essential personnel by mistake, or not properly screen visitors (ie., temperature check, inquiring about symptoms, etc.). Taking on a higher workload might make staff more irritable, which leads to more abuse.
There are some actions that you can and should take to protect your elder. In Washington D.C., you are allowed to provide the facility with an in-room camera, and ask them to install it. It will let you ensure that your elder is being given sufficient supervision and care, and that the nurses attending to him or her are in proper PPE. A second thing you can do is request a copy of the home’s COVID-19 protection plan. The home must do what it reasonably can maintain the safety of its residents.
If your loved one has contracted COVID-19 in a nursing home and suffered serious injury or death, the attorneys at Cohen & Cohen can help get you and your family the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.