As the country remains at home in isolation to curb the spread of COVID-19, there are certain segments of the population that aren’t able to achieve this level of social isolation. Over 4 million Americans currently reside in nursing homes, and while these facilities provide important services to residents, they also create certain inherent risks in the event of a global health pandemic.
Nursing home residents are surrounded by a large number of people each day. They interact with numerous staff members and come into contact with other residents. This can be problematic, especially considering elderly individuals are at an increased risk of suffering a severe case of COVID-19.
If your elderly loved one is in a nursing home, it’s important to monitor their care closely. The following tips will help ensure they remain safe during the pandemic.
Research the Ratings of the Nursing Home
You should go online and research the facility where your lived one resides. In particular, pay attention to staffing and sanitation ratings. In times of a pandemic, these ratings will overlap to some degree. Understaffing may cause staff members to hurry, reducing the likelihood that they’ll wash their hands thoroughly between checking on residents. This can lead to unsanitary conditions that may increase the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility.
You can find this information using Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare Tool, which evaluates every nursing home facility in the country that has been certified by Medicare and Medicaid.
Visit Frequently, If Permitted
Some nursing homes have prohibited family members from visiting during the health pandemic in order to reduce their residents’ risk of exposure to COVID-19. If this situation applies to your loved one, you should call frequently to ask about your loved one’s health and find out the steps they are taking to ensure safe, sanitary conditions.
If you are allowed to visit, you should do so as often as possible. Look to see that frequent handwashing and other sanitation protocols are being followed. Monitor the health of your loved one and if they appear to be sick, follow up with the staff regarding the steps being taken. If someone at the facility has tested positive for COVID-19, make sure steps are being taken to quarantine that resident.
Develop a Plan
Check with the facility to see what their strategy is in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. Make sure they will have enough supplies on-hand and have proper quarantine plans in place.
If your loved one gets sick, make sure to call their physician and ask for advice on the best way to proceed. Remember, you have the right to tell a nursing home to send your loved one to a hospital in the event of a serious illness, such as COVID-19. If the facility fails to comply, you can call for an ambulance to take your loved one to the hospital.
Our Attorneys Can Help
If you suspect that your loved one’s nursing home has acted negligently, resulting in a COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, you may be entitled to file a nursing home neglect lawsuit. The attorneys at the Jensen Phelan Law Firm will help ensure your loved one’s rights are protected and the negligent parties are held accountable.
Please contact the Jensen Phelan Law Firm using the form on this page or call 928-778-2660 today to schedule a complimentary consultation. We serve clients in Prescott, Cottonwood and throughout Northern Arizona.