Elderly Nursing Home Residents are Most at Risk for Covid-19
Elderly residents in Connecticut nursing homes have sadly borne the brunt of the deadly COVID-19.
Nursing home residents are more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their age and preexisting health conditions such as heart issues and high blood pressure.
The design of nursing homes also contributes to the problem given the close living conditions, shared common spaces and group activities.
Connecticut Nursing Home Deaths Continue
The most recent weekly nursing home update revealed that deaths from COVID-19 are continuing to rise with 1,884 confirmed deaths which reflects a 165 person increase from the prior report. Not included in this number are an additional 514 likely deaths attributable to COVID-19. These numbers also do not include COVID-19 deaths in assisted living facilities.
Confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in nursing homes as of last week total 8322 which is a 447 person increase from the prior week.
How Can Nursing Homes Protect the Elderly?
Pandemic plans are mandatory for all Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services participants and should have been implemented in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Additional guidance was issued during the pandemic by the American Healthcare Association and the National Center for Assisted Living which included the following guidelines:
- Making sure that staff and visitors are hand washing or using alcohol based hand sanitizers.
- Restricting common area usage.
- Having staff stay home if they are sick.
- Monitoring and implementing local and state health department guidance and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued guidance for nursing homes which included the following recommendations:
- Cancel all group activities.
- Cancel communal dining.
- Actively screen all residents and healthcare staff for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Properly isolate residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Lawsuits Against Connecticut Nursing Homes
Despite the rules and guidance, initial investigations conducted by the Connecticut Department of Public Health indicate that certain nursing homes have failed to follow proper infection prevention protocol, proper infection control protocol and proper implementation of personal protective equipment protocol among other violations.
These sorts of violations will most certainly result in lawsuits by the loved ones of nursing home residents who have suffered as a result.
Connecticut’s governor issued an executive order which provided immunity for certain civil liability of hospitals, nursing homes and health care workers during the public health emergency. To hurdle this potential bar to liability, a claimant will need to establish that the death or illness of a loved one at a Connecticut nursing home involved gross negligence or willful misconduct among certain other limited exceptions to immunity.