Nursing homes should be a safe place for our loved ones, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought serious issues to light. With nursing home residents in Ohio representing so many of the COVID-19 deaths, it’s clear there are problems that must be solved.
However, large nursing home companies and industry insiders are pushing for total immunity from COVID-19 related lawsuits. This would prevent family members and victims from seeking damage through a nursing home abuse case.
If someone you love died from COVID-19 in a nursing home, and you want to look into holding the liable party accountable, contact Kisling, Nestico & Redick to learn about your options.
In some cases, the struggles that nursing homes faced during the pandemic were completely out of their control. A national shortage of personal protective equipment, like gloves, masks, and gowns, has plagued healthcare facilities. Even in facilities that could order PPE, there was no guarantee that the equipment would arrive as many shipments were appropriated by governmental agencies.
Personal protective equipment is crucial to nursing home care, with or without a pandemic. When you add COVID-19 into the mix, disaster is bound to be the result. Nursing home care providers have been faced with caring for residents without protective equipment, knowing they could be COVID-19 carriers, or avoid giving care at all, which puts residents at risk.
Another issue is staffing. When news of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes started to become widespread, many facilities saw CNAs and nurses walking off the job to protect themselves and their families. As a result, those who remained were forced to work more on less rest and without protective equipment. In situations like this, it’s hard to consider punishing care providers who did the best they could under circumstances out of their control.
Flaws in the Nursing Home Industry
On the other side, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed ways that nursing home administrators cut costs and failed to consider their residents’ needs. Nursing home staff have spoken out against their employers, claiming that their policies and procedures are substandard.
Gradual increases in nurse-to-patient ratios put more strain on nursing home staff, forcing them to cut corners, rush through tasks, and otherwise decrease the quality of their care.
Many nursing home procedures are also not created with infectious disease in mind. Wearing personal protective equipment is often viewed as something done for the care provider, not the patient. As a result, care providers may reuse gloves to save time and avoid wasting supplies. This could easily lead to a flood of new COVID-19 cases.
These issues are, of course, all driven by money. Nursing home administrators have felt the pressure of reduced public funding and tougher standards, leading them to do whatever they can to keep profit margins high.
Legal Options for Victims
So what can you do if your loved one died in a nursing home because of COVID-19? The situation is changing rapidly, so it’s best to discuss your options with an attorney.
Currently, Ohio has some immunity available to care providers during the pandemic, but it is limited.
Senate Bill 308 could change that. It would give immunity to those in healthcare and retail from the date of the emergency declaration until 180 days after the emergency ends. Those against the bill argue that it was created out of concern for nursing homes’ financial wellbeing, not the physical health and lives of residents. This law would make it very difficult to sue for wrongful death or medical malpractice, leaving grieving families with little recourse.
Let Kisling, Nestico & Redick Help
When someone you love dies due to nursing home neglect or abuse, you shouldn’t have to pick up the pieces alone while you grieve. KNR is here to discuss your options and help you seek justice.