Investigations around the state revealed that many nursing homes in Louisiana were not taking adequate precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Reporting shows that the state’s nursing homes are way behind on testing and other preventive measures
A report showed that about one third of all homes around the state had violated guidelines meant to reduce the likelihood that staff and residents would be infected. There are a total of 278 nursing homes in Louisiana that are subject to both state and federal regulations. Most of these violations were related to inadequate testing procedures.
The state’s head health officer had threatened more severe sanctions for any facilities that still refuse to comply with the guidelines in place, or any changes in testing procedures. He urged immediate action, as public health experts have known since the beginning of the pandemic that areas with large numbers of people in enclosed spaces are the most problematic. Nursing homes meet these criteria, as well as being an area that concentrates elderly and vulnerable people who are most at risk for hospitalization and death.
Louisiana’s AARP director had also complained about the problem, saying the issue has gotten severe enough that the actions of these facilities in the coming weeks would probably be the difference between life and death for many elderly residents. He added that the state has the ultimate responsibility to regulate these homes as thoroughly as needed to prevent more deaths.
The state is also beginning an inquiry to determine why these measures were not taken earlier. The CDC guidelines for these facilities had already recommended widespread testing for almost two months before the report was released. Health officials in the state have decided that more serious actions need to be taken, but critics are asking why this process took so long.
The specifics of the federal guidelines include testing the entire staff and resident population of the home at least once a week. Those who had previously tested negative should be re-tested as needed, but 14 days of no new cases among the negative population should be recorded before retesting can stop. Positive tests will cause this process to start all over again until meeting the criteria of 14 days without a new case.
The government has given facilities until the end of the month to implement these procedures, otherwise they will face more serious sanctions. Local residents who have parents or other family members in nursing homes have already said that they prefer having the peace of mind from knowing that adequate testing is being done.
Talk with a local attorney about nursing home problems
There are attorneys in Louisiana who focus their practice on assisting clients who have become sick or gotten injured in a nursing home. To learn more about a lawsuit, contact:
3960 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806