The incidence of COVID-19 death is more prevalent among the elderly based on favorable mechanisms of spread when respiratory droplets are passed on through contact in close quarters. If someone died at a long term care facility because they were not isolated from sick individuals, some degree of  responsibility may fall onto the health care providers.  Seeking consultation with an experienced attorney about the case is advised and reporting the facility is important to reduce  dangers to residents.

Resident rights.

Residents in nursing homes have rights under The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, and families and loved ones need to make certain those rights are not being violated during this time of uncertainty. To that end, a family can do their best through investigations of nursing homes for violations that would impact the spread of the virus, including inadequate staff levels, shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), lack of cleaning and sanitation, delayed referrals to intensive medical care when necessary, and deviations from normal safety standards that would result in complaints of nursing home abuse, or neglect that results in injury, or wrongful death of a resident. A could assist in this process.

Standards of care.

Among those standards, South Carolina nursing home facilities are required to take action to isolate sick residents to control disease spread in accordance with South Carolina Nursing Home Laws (S.C. Code Section 44-7-260).  Isolations rooms shall be made available to protect residents from an individual’s illness that may pose a threat to the safety of other residents and if the facility is unable to provide isolation or measures to provide for the health and safety of all residents, individuals should be relocated to a facility that can.

Increased infection control.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is continuing to partner with nursing homes across the state to support implementation of infection control practices that protect residents and staff during the pandemic.  Nursing home abuse covers acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions or place residents in danger so it is imperative that infection control practices are adhered to, including:

  • Mandatory use of face masks for staff; mandatory face masks to be used by residents when they leave their rooms.
  • Reduced visitation procedures that encourage video conferencing and phone calls, and protocols to prevent visitors from bringing the infection into the facility, including closed window visits.
  • Nursing home staff inquiries regarding symptoms of COVID-19 after visiting nursing home.
  • Enhanced cleaning and testing for all residents and staff.

 Seek counsel.

When sub-standard care results in harm, or death to a nursing home resident, call an experienced attorney at the McDougall Law Offices, to discuss a potential case for damages.

McDougall Law Firm, LLC

115 Lady’s Island Commons
Beaufort, SC 29907

Phone: 843.379.7000

 

Sources.

 

https://www.scdhec.gov/news-releases/dhec-reports-covid-19-cases-nursing-homes-assisted-living-facilities

https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/3545/titles

https://www.scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/Regulations/R.61-17.pdf

https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/About/howcannhchelp.html

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