How Nursing Homes Failed Their Residents During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic swept through the United States and the rest of the world, catching many people, including those in nursing homes, off guard. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that those in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes are at a higher risk of contraction and complications.

However quickly the pandemic spread through the country, there are still ways in which many nursing homes did not take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their residents, workers, and visitors.

An article published on ProPublica back in April said that nine nursing homes around the country were deemed by federal inspectors to have put their residents at risk during the pandemic.

Multiple reasons were given for the shortcomings, both from ProPublica and other sources such as AARP:

  • Lack of Personal Protective Equipment

  • Failure to maintain social distancing

  • Understaffing

  • Insufficient reaction time to patients diagnosed with the virus

  • Shortage of tests for patients and workers

  • Sharing of workers between facilities

  • Transfers from hospitals

  • Sharing of rooms by residents

  • Frequent physical contact between workers and residents

Many nursing homes had an issue with testing for the virus, and the main problem in the nursing home industry in regards to the lack of testing is the cost. Many facilities don’t have the funds to purchase tests on an ongoing basis for all its members and staff. In addition to a one-time test, it is recommended that staff is tested once a week and that residents are tested until there are no positive results.

One major issue some states had was the influx of patients to hospitals that lacked the capacity to deal with the high rate of infection. In an attempt to lift the pressure on hospitals a few states, including New York, California, and New Jersey all insisted that nursing homes take in patients deemed “medically stable.” Some patients were not tested to see if they were still contagious before being sent to nursing homes. Since, nursing homes that did not have the capacity to take in COVID patients became exempt from the mandate.

As the country progresses towards reopening, some nursing homes are still failing to meet the recommendations to ensure the safety of their residents. West Virginia has still only inspected 11% of its facilities and ABC News reports that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services state that failure to complete inspections may result in a reduction in relief funds for the guilty facilities after the pandemic. Even in the midst of the mandatory reports now required of nursing home facilities, around 20% of facilities still have not provided their reports and may soon face fines if they fail to.

In addition, an NPR report says government inspections found that proper handwashing procedures were an issue for nursing homes, as well as a misuse of Personal Protective Equipment in about a quarter of the inspected facilities. Prior to the pandemic, there was very little incentive to improve in these areas, as fines were unsubstantial in most cases.

Was Your Loved One Injured in a Nursing Home During the Pandemic? Call Kwartler Manus Today

Give the team at Kwartler Manus, LLC a call in Philadelphia if your loved one was injured, sickened, or died during the COVID-19 pandemic while living in a nursing home. Contact Kwartler Manus online or by phone at (267) 214-8608 to schedule a consultation with a member experienced, compassionate team.


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