COVID Deaths Rising in Georgia Nursing Facilities
An Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Examines the Ongoing Problem
New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide a sobering reminder that COVID-19 remains a serious health threat, particularly for our nation’s most vulnerable population – seniors. And seniors who are residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are particularly at risk.
According to the CDC, 31 nursing home residents in Georgia died of COVID during the week ending January 30. That’s the highest number seen in the state in several months.
There was also encouraging news, as the CDC noted COVID cases were down 35% in nursing homes during that same week.
Staffing shortages also cause problems
The omicron variant is also causing a staffing crisis in these nursing facilities. More than 6,000 staff members needed to quarantine during the month of January 2022, according to Tony Marshall, president of the Georgia Health Care Association.
“Given the size of our workforce, that is a significant workforce crisis,” he said. “To be able to try to find individuals to fill in for those staff is very difficult.”
Marshall added that he believes the number of COVID deaths in nursing homes will decline soon as the number of cases continues to go down.
The Biden Administration has announced initiatives that would set a staff ratio requirement for nursing homes in an effort to avoid shortages. But Marshall said resources and funding would be needed to help nursing facilities meet that requirement.
More than 3,000 nursing home residents in Georgia have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in 2020.
The CDC has issued updated guidance for nursing home facilities with regard to isolation and work restriction guidance for staff members, as well as contingency and crisis management to help facilities cope with significant healthcare worker shortages.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation in 2019 found widespread problems in Georgia nursing homes. These problems included insufficient oversight and profit-minded management that led to the harm of residents. The investigation also found instances where staffing shortages “led to neglect, inadequate care, harm to patients, and even death.”
It's important to hold negligent nursing homes accountable
It is the responsibility of nursing homes and assisted living facilities to take whatever steps are necessary to protect their residents from getting COVID. These steps include following standard infection control procedures at their facilities. They also include designing a plan to protect residents and sharing that plan with the residents and their family members.
Once a plan is created, staff members need to be trained. Managers need to ensure that nursing facilities have enough resources, personnel, and equipment. They must also stay up-to-date on the latest information and guidance from state and local health departments.
When nursing homes and assisted living facilities fail to meet this responsibility, the consequences can be devastating. Residents can become infected and experience a serious illness that can be fatal.
If a loved one became ill or died in a Georgia facility and you suspect neglect, it’s important to talk to an experienced nursing home negligence lawyer. Attorney George S. Johnson can help. He understands the statutes, rules, and regulations that apply to nursing homes in Georiga. He can review the details of what happened to your loved one and give you a clear understanding of your legal options.
Get answers to your questions. Contact us to schedule a free and confidential consultation today. Our office is located in Decatur just northeast of Atlanta, and we proudly serve all of Georgia.