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Nursing homes fail to separate COVID-19 patients from other residents

West Virginia nursing home attorneys

The COVID-19 pandemic is not going anywhere any time soon. Yet, with loosened restrictions, some people have failed to recognize the seriousness of this pandemic. According to an article in Kaiser Health News, this has become evident in many hospitals and nursing homes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have already warned healthcare facilities to separate COVID-19 patients to prevent exposure to staff, other patients and residents.

COVID-19 outbreaks linked to patient scattering

The article cited one healthcare facility in Oakland, California where California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health said COVID-19 patients were scattered. COVID-19 patients on the sixth floor of the facility reportedly failed to stay in their rooms. Two nurses who worked with the patients become infected with the coronavirus, and one died from it.

The lack of oversight at this facility has raised concerns about safety in hospitals and nursing homes across the United States. Kaiser Health News investigated the issue and found that dozens of nursing homes and hospitals across the nation failed to adhere to CDC guidelines to separate COVID-19 patients from those who aren't infected. This problem was primarily found in California, Florida, New Jersey, Iowa, Ohio, Maryland and New York.

The National Nurses United conducted a survey of more than 21,000 nurses in July. The survey revealed that 32 percent of participants work in facilities that don't have a dedicated COVID-19 unit.

Nursing homes penalized for their failure

At one nursing home in Iowa, the assistant director claimed that there were no cases of COVID-19 in the facility as of April 28th. An inspection found that the facility failed to isolate residents who suffered from fevers and reduced oxygen levels. By mid-May, there were 61 COVID-19 cases in the facility, nine of which resulted in deaths.

Researchers have found that more than 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Medicare officials investigated the infection control practices at more than 15,000 nursing home facilities. They found that the primary cause of the infections that led to these deaths was nursing homes allowing residents to be mixed with those who are infected. Several financial penalties have been imposed on nursing homes found to have poor infection control practices in place.

What are my legal options if a loved one was harmed due to poor infection control?

Nursing homes and other healthcare facilities have a duty to protect patients and residents. That includes ensuring that anyone who steps into a facility has been tested for COVID-19. Visitors and staff who test positive should not be allowed near patients or residents until they have fully recovered. Patients and residents who test positive for the virus should be carefully separated from others and given proper medical care.

When nursing home facilities fail to take these measures, lives can be put at risk. If your loved one was harmed due to a nursing home's poor infection control practices, you need a strong legal advocate on your side who can launch a thorough investigation.

Put your trust in the West Virginia nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC. We'll fight to hold negligent nursing home facilities accountable and pursue justice for you and your family. This includes helping you recover all damages owed to you, including non-economic damages, such as mental anguish and emotional trauma.

To learn more about how our firm can help you, contact us online and schedule your free consultation. We serve clients in Charleston and throughout West Virginia.

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Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC
602 Virginia St E #200
Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: 304-720-1000