Understanding Why Nursing Homes Were Unprepared For The COVID Crisis
As we know, nursing home residents are part of an extremely vulnerable population to infectious disease, coronavirus included. They reside in relatively tight living quarters and share communal spaces for exercising, visiting with family and friends, daily activities, and meals. Most are also elderly or sick and have underlying conditions that put them at higher risk for contracting an illness or respiratory disease such as COVID-19. Also, the majority of long-term care facilities have proven incredibly unprepared to prevent resident exposure to preventable illnesses and diseases due to understaffing and a lack of safeguards in place to protect residents.
Today, with new guidelines in place that also restrict most visitors from seeing residents, support from family advocates who typically provide a watchdog type view of their loved one’s care has also gone awry. As a result, if a resident passes due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in a nursing home, a family will naturally have questions about what happened, and was the death the facility’s fault?
Families Have Options and Should Seek Legal Support
Chicago attorney and founding senior partner of Levin & Perconti law firm Steven Levin was interviewed by FOX Business on May 16 about these challenges, but also spoke out regarding the legal support available for these families.
“This is uncharted territory because of the magnitude,” said Levin. “There’s never been a similar catastrophe that affected older Americans in the history of this country, really. The results this virus has had on residents at long-term facilities are unimaginably catastrophic.”
- Associated Press: More than 27,000 residents and staff have died from outbreaks of the virus at the nation’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
- The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity: Roughly 40 percent of COVID-19-related deaths were reported in nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities.
Levin says a case is worth investigating, especially if the facility is poorly staffed, undersupplied, or operating with a lack of infection-control policies. Many underperforming homes struggled with these same safeguards prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The attorneys at Levin & Perconti have launched over 100 investigations into several assisted living, long-term care, and skilled nursing facilities for residents in Cook and surrounding counties in Illinois. These facilities have failed to uphold adequate infectious disease precautions and provide quality care in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Levin continued, “Now, in addition to everything else they have to do, they have to deal with the coronavirus, and they don’t have the staff, the policies or the procedures in place to do that. So, they’re still not following infection-control proceedings, and they don’t know how to handle visitation by family members, they don’t know how to screen their staff … and they don’t know what to do with individuals who have the virus. We have a horrible situation.”
To read the full story by FOX Business featuring Levin, click here.
Levin & Perconti: Chicago Attorneys at Law
Through our work, we understand the type of care needed to ensure nursing home residents are safe and treated with respect and dignity, especially during challenging times such as these. Please reach out if you find yourself concerned about a resident’s well-being, and call us at 312-332-2872 or toll-free at 877-374-1417 to request our help during a free Chicago nursing home negligence consultation.