What Made Nursing Homes Vulnerable to the Coronavirus

Older people are at an elevated risk of being adversely affected by Covid-19. Another group harshly impacted by Covid-19 are individuals with medical conditions like respiratory illness and kidney disease. Both of these populations make up a large number of the nursing home residents in this country. 


Unfortunately, various factors at nursing homes can exacerbate the spread of the disease including things like employees who work in multiple facilities, frequent physical interaction between residents and staff, sharing resident rooms, and shortages of personal protective equipment, understaffing. These factors have led to nursing homes spreading various diseases and providing an undesirable environment during a pandemic. If your loved one resides in a nursing home, there are some critical details you should understand about Covid-19 and what you can do to protect your loved one. 


How Nursing Homes Are Trying to Control the Virus


Residents at nursing homes were among the first group to get vaccinated as Covid-19 vaccines were administered in December 2020 and January 2021. Nursing homes have also attempted to enforce stringent health protocols that address masking and social distancing. Early in the pandemic, nursing homes also restricted visiting to limit exposure risks for the virus. 


How Nursing Home Residents Are Receiving the Covid-19 Vaccine


At the beginning of the Covid-19 vaccine administration, the federal government contracted with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate residents and staff at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. In some parts of New York, regional pharmacy chains are also helping. As of April 2021, almost all nursing homes have completed their vaccination clinics. 


How Nursing Homes Are Regulated


Nursing homes are regulated by the federal government, specifically the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. State surveys conduct inspections of nursing homes to inspect that the centers are complying with federal laws and standards in regards to hygiene, recording keeping, and supervision. Facilities must be classified as compliant to be certified and become eligible for payments from Medicare and Medicaid. 


Visiting Loved Ones in Nursing Homes


With vaccinations at nursing homes almost complete and death rates from Covid-19 at nursing homes drastically decreasing, it might be possible to visit your loved one. If you decide to visit your loved one, the interaction will almost certainly be tightly controlled. Facilities often require advance scheduling as well as place time limits on the visit and perform health screenings of visitors. 


What to Do if You Have a Complaint or Concern about Covid-19


You should begin by talking to the nursing home and learning as much as you can about the situation. If the facility is not responsive, you should reach out to your state’s ombudsman, who advocates for the safety and wellbeing of nursing home residents.  If an issue continues, you should immediately contact an experienced elder law attorney. 


Speak with a Knowledgeable Elder Law Attorney


If your loved one who lives in a nursing home has been exposed to and later diagnosed with Covid-19 as a result of negligence, you should not hesitate to speak with a compassionate elder law attorney. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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