Holding Nursing Homes Accountable for Negligence
It should come as no surprise that nursing homes are uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19, as the elderly face the highest risks of serious illness and death from the disease. What may come as a surprise, however, is the stunning lack of preparation shown by many of the nation’s nursing homes since the COVID-19 crisis began.
In Maryland, state officials aimed to set a strong example by imposing civil penalties of $10,000 a day on Sagepoint Living, a nursing home in La Plata, after a survey revealed major gaps in COVID-19 infection control procedures at the facility. In a letter to the facility dated May 6th, the Maryland Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Quality (OHCQ) wrote that the facility had violated state regulations, leading to conditions that “posed immediate and serious jeopardy to the health and safety of [residents].”
In particular, the OHCQ cited the following problems at Sagepoint Living in La Plata:
- Failure to provide critical lab results in a timely manner for residents
- Lack of hand hygiene and appropriate sanitation for staff and residents
- Failure to use and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves
- Failure to isolate and monitor residents with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19
Sagepoint Living is certainly not alone in failing to protect the most vulnerable nursing home residents: According to a recent article in the New York Times, at least 153,000 nursing home residents have now been infected across 7,700 facilities nationwide, with one-third of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths tied to nursing homes. While it may not always be possible to prevent coronavirus infections, nursing homes do have an obligation to follow the CDC guidance on nursing home safety, implement effective infection control procedures before the virus hits, and provide swift medical assistance for those who develop COVID-19 symptoms.
Protecting Elderly and Disabled Residents
Nursing homes have long struggled to maintain federally-required staffing levels and protect seniors from abuse and negligence. As Kaiser Health News reported in early March, at least 63% of all nursing homes in the country had been cited for infection control issues within the last two inspection periods. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these lapses have become even more apparent – and deadly for residents.
At Ashcraft & Gerel, our nursing home abuse lawyers understand the consequences of nursing home negligence all too well. For over 65 years, we’ve been fighting for the rights of the elderly and seeking fair compensation for their serious injuries. If your loved one suffered needlessly after contracting COVID-19 in a nursing home facility, we can help you explore your legal options and potentially hold the facility accountable.
Contact us at (800) 674-9725 for a free consultation. We serve clients in Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland.