Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, our nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys have sounded the alarm about the failures in the system that have left powerless our most vulnerable citizens and their families. In April, we wrote about nursing home coronavirus liability, and in June we outlined failures of the industry to comply with safety regulations put in place after residents died in the wake of 2017’s Hurricane Irma.
Unfortunately, because of the threat posed by COVID-19, we enter the height of the hurricane season this year with the vast majority of nursing home residents isolated from friends, family and loved ones.
The threats posed by COVID are real, of course, particularly for this elderly, vulnerable population. The Wall Street Journal reported nearly half of Florida’s 7,000 virus deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities. About one in five residents in Florida is a senior citizen—the highest proportion in the U.S.
As a result, most nursing homes and assisted-living facilities have closed their doors to visitors. The resulting isolation brings risks of its own.
Nursing Home Neglect in Southwest Florida
Most cases of nursing home neglect are reported by visitors or loved ones. Without these vital checks on the for-profit nursing home industry, residents are at increased risk.
Staffing: Short-staffed in the best of times, many nursing home employees are finding other jobs in the healthcare industry that reduce the threat of exposure.
Safety: Far too few nursing facilities have adequate hurricane plans, and many have not complied with a law enacted after the 2017 hurricane season, which required most facilities to have backup generators to keep air conditioning and other critical systems operational in the wake of a storm.
Virus Risk: There is every evidence that nursing home operators have been well aware of viral risks for years. Flu contagions have been common. However, despite the known risks to a vulnerable population, few operators have been prepared to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Policing the industry is best done by “See Something, Say Something.” But with little oversight at such a critical time, loved ones are too often being left in the dark when it comes to the care of elderly residents.
Nursing Home Neglect Liability
If there is an issue the nursing home industry has been proactive about, it has been the race to limit exposure to coronavirus liability. Lobbyists in Tallahassee and Washington are already hard at work with lawmakers on a number of proposals that would prevent residents and family members from suing operators for coronavirus related injury or death.
Our nursing home neglect attorneys know residents and their loved ones are not powerless. Those who have concerns about a resident’s care should reach out for advice from a law firm with extensive experience in litigating personal injury, wrongful death, and premises liability cases involving the elder-care industry.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.