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How to Spot Nursing Home Negligence During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Nursing Home Abuse on April 15, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a drastic effect on a global scale. Thousands of people have lost their lives. Florida has had over 21,000 confirmed cases and 500 deaths as of mid-April 2020. The virus has led to many significant changes in the way Floridians live – including being unable to visit vulnerable elderly loved ones in nursing homes throughout the state. During the coronavirus pandemic, learn how to check on your loved ones in nursing home facilities to search for signs of negligence.

Florida’s Guidelines to Protecting Nursing Home Residents

Nursing homes throughout the country are on high alert amid the COVID-19 virus pandemic. National health officials such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that those at the highest risk of developing serious health complications from the coronavirus are older adults and people with severe underlying medical conditions. Under national health advisories, Florida nursing homes have taken extra precautions to help prevent residents’ exposure to the virus.

  • Expedited testing kits for the elderly
  • New staff member training on how to handle the virus
  • Tighter visitor restrictions for the protection of residents
  • Banning visits from people with symptoms of the virus or high temperatures
  • Canceled activities and events that took place in group settings
  • Screening residents for possible symptoms of COVID-19
  • Procedures for handling potentially infectious clients
  • Enhanced hygiene and sanitation protocols
  • Signs, notices and hand-sanitizing stations at facilities

Nursing homes have a legal responsibility to look after the physical, emotional and psychosocial well-being of their residents. This includes during a global health crisis. Ideally, your loved one’s nursing home is handling the pandemic with care and per federal, state and local mandates. It should do so while still maintaining the proper degree of resident care. The nursing home should not have cut down its staff enough to interfere with proper resident care, for example, or taken other steps that could threaten your loved one’s safety.

What to Do If You Believe the Nursing Home Is Being Negligent

Call your loved one’s nursing care facility and ask how it is handling the coronavirus pandemic and protecting its residents. Hearing about the protocols the facility has in place could give you better peace of mind during this frightening time. If the facility has no protocols in place, however, or seems to be doing things that go against the well-being of its residents, you have the right to speak to a nursing home neglect lawyer about a potential negligence claim. A nursing home in Florida could be guilty of many mistakes that threaten residents’ well-being.

  • Reducing the staff to a dangerous ratio of staff members to residents
  • Forcing residents to go into isolation
  • Unnecessarily restraining residents
  • Withholding food or water from residents
  • Failing to keep a safe and sanitary premises
  • Failing to properly care for and clean residents
  • Failing to adequately screen for symptoms of coronavirus
  • Failing to provide necessary medical care
  • Taking away alternative modes of communication, such as phone calls or video chats
  • Not allowing residents to talk to their family members
  • Physically abusing or assaulting residents

Call your loved one and the nursing home often to check on things. Your loved one’s nursing home might be guilty of neglect or abuse if your loved one complains of poor treatment, malnourishment or isolation. Look for signs of neglect as well, such as unexplained injuries or ignored illnesses. If your loved one seems to be declining in health without reason or undergoing behavioral changes, including feelings of depression or anxiety, these could be signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. If you suspect nursing home negligence during the coronavirus pandemic and think your loved one is in imminent danger, call 911. Then, contact a personal injury attorney near you to review your options.