We’ve been hearing it all over the news and many of us have been exposed to it in our personal and daily lives: the threat of COVID-19 in nursing homes. According to experts, these facilities are “breeding grounds” for the virus, leaving many of us frightened for ourselves or loved ones who reside in or are employed by a nursing home.
At first thought, it might seem counterintuitive that of all locations, nursing homes would be a hotspot for the virus. After all, wouldn’t the level of prevention and sanitation be greatest in these environments, given the fact that many nursing home residents are particularly susceptible to the virus? This begs a closer look at just how COVID-19 spreads in nursing homes.
COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. However, COVID-19 virus particles can also remain alive on surfaces, and can thereby be transmitted through the touching of contaminated objects in the environment.
There are many reasons COVID-19 seems to be particularly prevalent in nursing home facilities, including the following:
These are all of the ingredients necessary for a “breeding ground” of COVID-19, and the problem is worsened by the fact that many nursing homes fail to adhere strictly to infection control guidelines designed to prevent the transmission of the virus.
What Can Be Done?
If you have a loved one living in a nursing home and are concerned about whether or not they have already contracted COVID-19, you have the option of requesting that their primary doctor order a test. Unfortunately, the CDC guidelines are such that not everyone is deemed in need of testing. For this reason, there is no guarantee that your loved one will be able to receive a test.
In the effort to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in nursing homes, the CDC has established strategies for adoption within these facilities. Each strategy falls into one of five categories designed to tackle a specific aspect of the problem. These are as follows:
1) Prevent The Virus From Entering The Facility
2) Early Detection Of Infected Individuals
3) Prevent Transmission Of The Virus
4) Ensure Sufficient Levels Of PPE And Other Supplies
5) Identify And Manage Severe Illness
Do You Suspect That A Particular Nursing Home Is Not Following The CDC Guidelines?
If anyone has reason to believe that a nursing home is not following the CDC guidelines, they should contact the local health department. In addition, they can contact a nursing home abuse attorney who can review and/or investigate the situation, explain their rights, and ultimately do everything possible to protect nursing home residents. Valid negligence or wrongful death claims could be brought against any nursing home facility that fails to protect its residents by failing to adhere to the CDC guidelines.