What Nursing Homes Can Do to Combat COVID-19

an older woman wearing a face maskThe COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has impacted communities far and wide. It has led to the closure of non-essential businesses and the requirement for many to shelter in place. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated more stringent health and safety guidelines in hospitals and other medical facilities in order to protect those more at risk from the virus.

During this time, it’s more important than ever for nursing homes to implement these heightened health and safety standards in order to protect one of the groups vulnerable to the virus—the elderly.

Who’s at Risk from COVID-19?

COVID-19 does not impact everyone the same way. Certain groups of people are more likely to develop serious complications from the disease from others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these individuals include:

  • People 65 years and older

  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma

  • People who have serious heart conditions

  • People who are immunocompromised

  • People with severe obesity

  • People with diabetes

  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis

  • People with liver disease

Those who live in nursing homes are at an additional risk of developing complications from COVID-19 because they are older than 65 and live in a facility packed with many other residents.

As such, it’s vital for nursing homes to take the proper measures to protect their residents from exposure to this disease.

Coronavirus Checklist for Nursing Homes

The CDC recommends the following guidelines for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in order to ensure the safety of their residents:

  • Take measures to prevent COVID-19 from entering the facility. This is all about limiting the number of people to which nursing home residents are exposed. Restrict all visitors except for end-of-life situations and non-essential healthcare personnel. When anyone does enter the facility, screen them for symptoms of COVID-19 before they start a shift or make deliveries.

  • Identify COVID-19 infections early. Make sure to screen all staff members daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Since they are older, nursing home residents may not show typical symptoms of the disease. Their symptoms may include new or worsening malaise, dizziness, or diarrhea. Once a sick individual is identified, contact your state or local health department immediately.

  • Prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cancel all events that involve the gathering of large groups of people. Ensure all residents wear a cloth face covering whenever they leave their room. Additionally, all facility workers should wear a face covering at all times.

  • Continually assess the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and initiate measures to optimize your supply. If you anticipate PPE shortages, reach out to your state or local health department.

Identifying Nursing Home Abuse

While these measures can help protect residents from COVID-19, it’s apparent that many nursing homes across the country are not taking these vital steps. And as a result, COVID-19 deaths in U.S. nursing homes have exceeded 10,000.

During this time, you may be wondering whether your loved one is receiving the care they need in their nursing home. It may be difficult to visit their facility during this time to ensure they are protected. However, regular phone calls with your relative may be able to help you determine whether they are experiencing any of the following forms of nursing home abuse:

  • Physical abuse. The physical abuse of an elderly person involves inflicting bodily harm by hitting, pushing, slapping, and more. The warning signs of physical abuse may include unexplained bruises or lacerations and broken eyeglasses.

  • Emotional abuse. The emotional abuse of an elderly person involves saying hurtful words, yelling, threatening, ignoring, and more. The warning signs of emotional abuse may include withdrawal, depression, and regressive behaviors.

  • Sexual abuse. The sexual abuse of an elderly person involves any non-consensual sexual interactions with them. The warning signs of sexual abuse may include unexplained STDs and torn underwear.

  • Financial abuse. The financial abuse of an elderly person involves any unauthorized use of their funds. The warning signs of financial abuse may include unexplained ATM withdrawals and unusual subscription sign-ups.

  • Neglect. The neglect of an elderly person involves withholding the essential qualities of life from them, including food, water, medicine, clothing, and more. The warning signs of neglect may include malnutrition, dehydration, and untreated medical conditions.

If you suspect your loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect in their nursing home, bring it to the attention of the facility’s staff immediately. If the staff dismisses your concerns but you still suspect abuse, contact an experienced attorney.

Suspect Nursing Home Abuse? We’re Here to Help

It’s more important than ever that your elderly relatives receive the care and attention they need in their nursing home during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you believe your loved one is not receiving adequate care, or are experiencing abuse, our team is ready to help.

At Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., our Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys are prepared to help your family seek justice. We have the skills and experience needed to take on large medical facilities and their insurers. It’s important that these institutions be held accountable for any negligence that occurs so that other elderly residents do not suffer at their hands.

Contact Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. today at (844) 383-0565 to schedule a free consultation with our team.

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