COVID-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes Reveal Cracks in the System
The number is staggering: 68,000 nursing home deaths due to the coronavirus. How many of these deaths could have been avoided? Many, if not most of them, according to an opinion piece in The New York Times.
The article lays out a powerful argument for nationwide nursing home reform during COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus that has devastated many facilities. It notes the tragic loss of life may not have been as severe if stronger measures had been in place.
How one resident died unnecessarily
The article tells the story of one man in a Texas nursing home who tested positive for the coronavirus on March 26 and died less than a month later, on April 17. His children filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the nursing home staff failed to take adequate steps to protect him and help him get treatment.
According to the New York Times, the lawsuit states the facility staff did not transfer the resident to a hospital even as his condition worsened. The children were also never told their father was sick. Hours before the man’s death, the nursing home staff told the children “he was doing fine,” the Times reported, citing details of the lawsuit.
What nursing homes can do to protect residents
Nursing home or long-term care facility residents make up at least 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths, according to the Times. The number of these deaths total about 68,000.
As noted in the Times, basic measures that have been shown to save lives include:
- Usage of personal protective equipment
- Regular testing of employees and residents for COVID-19
- Hiring of extra workers during the pandemic to ensure residents are properly cared for
Investigations have found that many nursing homes placed profits over the safety of the residents and staff and did not take necessary precautions. The Government Accountability Office found infection control standards were inadequate in almost half of all American nursing homes. The federal government has loosened oversight and has proposed rolling back infection control regulations.
The Times cites the following measures that could save lives:
- Funding from the government to nursing homes should be put into better patient care
- Facilities should have easier access to personal protective equipment
- Nursing homes should have adequate staffing
- Nursing home staff, who typically receive low wages and work in a dangerous environment, should receive hazard pay
What to do if your loved one was harmed or died in a nursing home
Nursing homes serve a vital purpose. You trust them to care for your loved one, who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, as the Times editorial makes clear, these facilities sometimes cut corners and might look the other way when a disease such as COVID-19 is threatening the lives of the most vulnerable residents.
Our law firm can examine how a nursing home has operated during the pandemic, asking questions such as:
- Did staff members properly use personal protective equipment and hand sanitizers?
- Were any staff members infected with the virus?
- Did the nursing home protect residents by placing restrictions on visitors?
If your loved one was harmed or died in a nursing home due to COVID-19, we can be your advocate and get answers.
Take action by hiring an experienced nursing home neglect and abuse attorney in Georgia. Contact the Law Offices of George S. Johnson today for a free evaluation. Attorney George S. Johnson knows how to conduct a thorough investigation and ask the critical questions that shine a light on the facts and reveal the truth.