Iowa Governor Reynolds was in the process of attempting to reopen nursing homes to the public after forced closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Government wants to begin to reopen homes with new precautions

The government officials involved in this plan said that they hoped long term care facilities could find a way to reopen while minimizing the risk of new infections and or a large outbreak. The severe restrictions initially came as health officials worried that elderly and at risk populations could face severe respiratory problems or even death.  

The governor spoke of the emotional toll that these restrictions have on patients at a news conference. She said that she has heard stories of married couples and other families who have barely spent any time apart in the last several decades suddenly being forcefully separated. Obviously, some of them have not handled the situation very well and they can start to develop mental health issues. Children of elderly parents are also concerned that they may be missing some of their last opportunities to spend time with them. These emotional and psychological problems do have very real effects on the overall well being of nursing home residents. 

The state’s medical director said she was in the process of releasing final guidelines for nursing homes about how to reopen while minimizing the risk of infection. These guides would cover everything from requirements for dining areas, group activities, and visitation. There are also expectations that testing will increase and more protective equipment will be available as the facilities reopen. If a new case is discovered, entire facilities will have to be re-tested as part of a mandatory procedure meant to isolate cases and prevent them from spreading. 

Nursing home residents were already identified as an at risk population for many kinds of diseases such as norovirus or the common flu. This is because of their age, underlying health conditions, and close quarters. It is extremely easy for any kind of contagion to spread through a nursing home in just a few days. About half of Iowa’s COVID-19 related deaths were in the state’s nursing homes, and almost all of the state’s virus related deaths were people aged 61 and over. 

Increased vulnerability and nursing homes

As this news report shows, it is very difficult for people in nursing homes to protect themselves. This can be due to things like viral outbreaks and other contagious illnesses, as well as misconduct from employees such as neglect or physical abuse that harms residents.

Speak with an attorney in the state of Iowa

There are lawyers in your area who assist people with all kinds of injuries and problems at nursing homes, including abuse, neglect, and other intentional forms of harm. To meet with a legal professional, contact:

Eells and Tronvold Law Offices

1921 51st Street NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-2400 

319-393-1020

www.eellsandtronvold.com

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