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levin & perconti coronavirus update questions

What kinds of social distancing measures are nursing homes taking at this stage of the pandemic?

CMS guidelines have eliminated all communal meals and activities to limit residents’ contact with each other and allow facilities to repurpose communal spaces (like activity rooms) to spread residents out. Likewise, CMS is prohibiting visitation by family and friends, advocates and non-essential health care providers. The only exception is for “compassionate situations,” including but not limited to end-of-life visitation. Visitors making compassionate visits will be required to wear personal protective equipment, comply with other safety measures and refrain from physical contact. Finally, a person exhibiting any respiratory symptoms whatsoever will not be allowed to visit.

Facilities should already be following longstanding CDC guidelines for infection prevention. Here are some questions that can guide your inquiry into whether they currently comply with the rules.

Steve Levin

A message from Attorney Steven Levin

During these difficult times it is important for patients and their families to understand that residents in nursing homes still have the right to expect proper care.

Direct communication with facility staff, including the director of nursing and administration is key.  Find out what the staff is doing to prevent and control COVID-19.  Here are some things staff should be doing:

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus impacting the nearly 1.4 million patients residing in nursing homes and rehab facilities across the U.S. These individuals include the elderly and severely disabled people who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus. Coronavirus can lead to a respiratory illness with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and shortness of breath. In a growing number of cases, it can be more severe than the flu, and dying from the virus is much more likely for older and health-compromised people.

There is a select group carrying characteristics that put them at higher risk of illness and death related to an infectious disease due to cognitive limitations, which impair their ability to respond to an emergency. This group includes those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Unfortunately, dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, is already “one of the only top-10 cause of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed,” says the Alzheimer’s Association. A growing majority of these individuals depend on care provided by others to manage their daily activities, medications, financial needs, and to keep them in safe environments and reside in nursing homes.

Coronavirus disease is highly infectious and caused by a new virus that is leading to a deadly respiratory illness for at-risk populations, especially nursing home residents. During this challenging time, The Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term care has proven to be an excellent resource to those who have been isolated in a nursing home or elder community and their concerned family members. Please review and share the organization’s guidance in the hope of preventing the spread of coronavirus near you.

Coronavirus Prevention Tips for Long-Term Care Residents

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