Will Nursing Home Residents Receive the Care They Need During COVID-19 Outbreak?

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Mar 20, 2020 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights

Female nursing home resident coronavirusCoronavirus has everyone concerned, and with good reason. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you may worry that he or she will not receive sufficient care if the facility becomes quarantined. Our Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers at PKSD Law discuss some recommendations that may help.

Assess Your Loved One’s Facility

If you are able to visit your loved one, note whether the facility screens you for the virus before allowing you to access the facility. If they are, remember to follow their rules and answer the questions the staff have been instructed to ask. This is for the good of your loved one, staff and other residents. If no screening occurs, this could be a warning sign that the facility is not taking proper precautions.

Here are some additional steps you can take even if your loved one's facilty is already quarantined:

Is There An Emergency Plan? 

Ask administrators what emergency preparedness plan they have in place to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, and whether they are following CDC recommendations, such as: 

For family members and other visitors - are they:

  • Screening all visitors for fever and other respiratory symptoms
  • Restricting and/or cancelling all visitation, except for compassionate care situations
  • Ensuring family members can continue to communicate with loved ones during a quarantine

For resident care:

  • Does the facility have your current contact information, and is it correct?
  • How will the facility monitor and quickly identify patients who are exhibiting symptoms?
  • How will the facility manage the care of infected patients during the outbreak?
  • What supplies and resources will be available for residents if a quarantine is implemented?
  • Are health care professionals encouraging residents to stay in their rooms and practice social distancing?
  • How is the facility explaining coronavirus actions, such as social distancing and implementing a quarantine, to residents?

Regarding the facility and staff:

  • Will all non-essential personnel be suspended during the crisis?
  • How will the nursing home respond to evolving needs for staff, equipment and supplies?
  • What emergency training has been provided to caregivers and staff to handle the crisis?
  • Is the facility well-stocked with alcohol-based hand sanitizers inside and outside all resident living areas?
  • Is the facility using hospital-grade disinfectants to frequently clean resident rooms and common areas?
  • Will the facility enforce sick leave policies for all staff, instructing them to stay home if sick?
  • Are staff being reminded of proper handwashing and infection prevention measures?

Research Staffing Numbers and Sanitation Ratings

The current staffing numbers and sanitation average ratings of your loved one’s nursing home or long-term care facility can be viewed via the Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare tool. Every nursing home certified under the Medicare and Medicaid programs is listed here

Observe Staff

Additionally, observe nursing and other caregivers who have regular and direct contact with patients to see whether they are following recommended precautions, such as:

  • Following CDC guidelines for frequent handwashing using warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Using personal protective equipment when appropriate
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Providing sick patients with face masks

Caring for Your Loved One if Visits Are Suspended

Nursing home residents are already at a high-risk for respiratory illnesses, so we recommend staying informed about your loved one’s condition.

Additionally, loved ones may not understand why you are not visiting them as often, and they may feel separated, lonely and sad. Take some of these steps to help them to know they are not alone or abandoned during mandated social distancing and quarantines:

  • Explain what is happening to your loved one, how you will keep in touch (by phone, email, etc.) and why you cannot visit right now.
  • Call or email frequently to ask about their well-being, and remind them they are cared for and that you will come to see them as soon as you can.
  • Ask whether they are getting enough food, being bathed regularly and getting enough water to drink.

Prepare and Plan 

 If you feel your loved one is not receiving sufficient care, consider whether it may be safer to remove him or her from a long-term care facility. Since this can be detrimental to an individual who is already in frail health, this decision should only be made in extreme cases and only after careful consideration and discussion with your loved one’s treating physician.

If the treating physician also recommends removal of your loved one, you need to have an immediate care plan in place to ensure you can provide for:

  • Daily basic care, including bathing, toileting, feeding and dressing
  • Administration of medication
  • Access to emergency care or a home health agency for urgent care

How Our Trusted Lawyers May Be Able to Help

If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, our Milwaukee nursing home abuse lawyers are prepared to help. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. There is no need to come to our office, as we can handle your consultation completely online.

If you have a valid claim and decide to take legal action, you can hire our services with no upfront costs. We do not collect payment for our fees unless we achieve compensation on your behalf.

We offer e-Sign and online consultations from the safety of your home. Call today: 877-877-2228

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