Fiol Law Group|Posted in Nursing Home Abuse on July 13, 2020
Florida has consistently had some of the highest case counts of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Lax regulations from the state government, tourists visiting from around the world and the rushed reopening of nonessential businesses have contributed to the virus running rampant in Florida. As of mid-July, over 271,000 people in Florida have tested positive for the coronavirus. Over 4,000 victims have died.
One of the most alarming aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been its impact on nursing homes. Nursing home residents are a high-risk group for the coronavirus. It is critical for a nursing home to upgrade its cleanliness and sanitation protocols to fight the virus, as well as take other steps to proactively protect residents. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes in the state are reacting appropriately. If you have a loved one in a nursing home in Tampa Bay during COVID-19, find out what you can do to help keep him or her safe.
Which Nursing Homes Have Confirmed Cases of COVID-19?
Hillsborough County has about 280 nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The Tampa Bay Area also encompasses hundreds of facilities in Pinellas, Hernando and Pasco Counties. So far, 37 nursing homes in the Tampa Bay area have reported residents testing positive for COVID-19. Many nursing homes in Tampa Bay have had dozens of cases, as well as resident deaths.
- Hawthorne Health and Rehab of Brandon
- East Bay Rehabilitation Center
- Harbourwood Care Center
- Mease Continuing Care
- Consulate Health Care at Lake Parker
- Florida Presbyterian Homes Inc.
- Highlands Lake Center
- Lakeland Nursing & Rehabilitation
- Oakbridge Healthcare Center
- Valencia Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center
- Wedgewood Healthcare Center
- Oak Manor Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center
- Palm Garden of Largo
- Palm Garden of Pinellas
- Sabal Palms Health Care Center
- Tampa Lakes Health and Rehabilitation Center
New Port Richey:
- Life Care Center of New Port Richey
- Southern Pines Healthcare Center
- West Bay of Tampa
- Bay Tree Center
- The Care Center at Pinellas Park
- Community Convalescent Center
- Consulate Health Care of Safety Harbor
- Consulate Health Care of St. Petersburg
- Freedom Square Health Care Center
- Masonic Home of Florida
- Petersburg Nursing & Rehabilitation
Sun City Center:
- Palm Garden of Sun City
- Brighton Gardens of Tampa
- The Bristol at Tampa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center LLC
- Excel Care Center
- Fairway Oaks Center
- The Nursing Center at University Village
- Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center of Tampa
- Peninsula Care and Rehabilitation Center
- AdventHealth Care Center Zephyrhills North
- Heartland of Zephyrhills
If your loved one resides at a nursing home on this list, contact it for more information about the number of cases and how the facility is handling the matter. Try to communicate with your loved one often through phone, video or email. Florida’s list of COVID-19-positive facilities is constantly growing. Stay vigilant in contacting the nursing home taking care of your family member for updates.
What Should a Nursing Home Be Doing to Protect Residents?
Federal and state lawmakers have attempted to slow the spread of the coronavirus through emergency orders and declarations. For example, Florida issued an emergency order banning outsiders from visiting nursing home residents and other long-term care facilities. It also ordered all nursing homes to test their staff members for the virus every two weeks.
- Educate and train health care providers about COVID-19
- Educate families and residents about the virus
- Use necessary personal protective equipment, such as facemasks and gloves
- Prohibit visitors
- Enforce sick leave policies
- Enhance facility sanitation
- Implement hand-washing stations
- Search for signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in residents
- Quarantine residents with the virus
Nursing homes and similar facilities have high standards of care during the coronavirus pandemic. It is critical for these places to take careful steps in protecting their high-risk residents. Failing to do so is negligence.
Tampa Nursing Home Liability for COVID-19
If a nursing home negligently fails to take adequate steps to prevent COVID-19 or protect its residents from the further spread of the virus, that nursing home could be liable for a victim’s damages. Liability asks whether another nursing home would have done more to prevent the COVID-19 case or properly treat a resident’s illness. If the answer is yes, the nursing home may be guilty of negligence and have to pay for the victim’s damages through an injury lawsuit.
How to Check on Your Loved Ones in Nursing Homes
Conditions at a nursing home in Tampa Bay may worsen when staff members know no one is watching them. Check on your loved one often to show that you and your family are paying attention to how the facility is handling the pandemic. While you may not be able to visit in person, contact your loved one in other ways. Use technology such as Facetime, Zoom and Skype to video chat with your loved one. Video conferences can allow you to see the condition of the care facility as well as the health and cleanliness of your loved one.
How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse in Tampa?
Nursing home abuse is the intentional harming of nursing home residents. It can refer to physical, mental, emotional, verbal, financial or sexual abuse. Nursing home abuse can cause serious injuries to elderly victims, such as broken bones, head injuries and brain injuries. It can also cause wrongful death. Nursing home abuse occurs at an estimated rate of 10% of residents. Experts believe, however, that the actual rate is much higher due to underreporting.
What to Do If You Are Concerned About Your Loved Ones
Contact your loved one’s nursing home to ask questions about what it is doing to combat COVID-19. If you discover your loved one has COVID-19, discuss the possibility of a negligence lawsuit against the Tampa Bay nursing home with a personal injury lawyer in Tampa. You may be able to bring a suit against the facility for failing to uphold its duties of care to residents under federal elderly care laws, state COVID-19 mandates and/or basic nursing home care standards.
A Tampa nursing home attorney can help you protect your loved one, search for evidence of neglect and file a claim to damages against a nursing home for causing or failing to prevent the coronavirus. A successful claim could result in compensation for your family’s medical costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more. Call (813) 223-6773 today to speak to a lawyer from the Fiol & Morros Law Group for free.