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Nursing Homes in NYC Vulnerable to COVID-19

It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic has taken an enormous toll on nursing homes throughout the country, claiming the lives of nearly 68,000 residents and staff across 4,100 facilities and accounting for close to 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States.

Because the virus is particularly lethal to the elderly and those with underlying conditions, nursing home residents are a predictably vulnerable population. But the devastation these residents have experienced may have been preventable. As the nursing home workforce continues to be pushed to the limit and the death toll continues to rise among long-term care residents and staff, there’s perhaps another culprit lurking in the shadows. Have overburdened workers been a contributing cause to infections among our vulnerable elderly loved ones?

The Media Illustrates a Dire Situation in New York Nursing Homes

Throughout the course of this pandemic, media reports have painted a grim picture of the conditions inside nursing facilities and the terrible cost of human lives.

In late September, AP News reported that health inspectors found safety shortcomings at 77 New York nursing homes, including basic infection-control violations like failing to have staff wear masks or wash their hands.

In early November, local New York paper Newsday reported that three Long Island healthcare facilities were recently cited by the federal government for alleged coronavirus-related workforce violations and given proposed fines totaling nearly $22,000. These suspected infringements include failing to give medical evaluations to employees for the use of respirators, fit-test respirators on employees, and report a work-related death of an employee to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration within eight hours.

The New York Post released a report in early April, just as the coronavirus lockdown was in its early phases, with a headline that read, “NYC nursing home running out of room for dead bodies amid coronavirus crisis.”

Has Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Led to an Increasing Coronavirus Death Toll?

While it’s clear that the coronavirus is adept at spreading in living facilities with older residents who are at increased risk of infection and death, it’s also apparent that most of the nation’s nursing homes had months of warning about the coming threat.

Elder abuse and neglect may be to blame for the particularly high death toll, which is why nursing home operators must be extra vigilant to maintain the safest possible environment. Nursing homes that have managed to contain the virus have done so by employing basic measures such as using personal protective equipment, routinely testing employees and residents, and bringing on extra workers. Those successes make it clear that many—if not most—of the 68,000 lives could have been spared with careful planning and effective leadership.

As the virus continues to desolate New York City’s most vulnerable, it’s more important than ever for nursing homes to protect their workers and residents and be held accountable for their actions should they fail.

How to Spot Coronavirus-Related Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

As nursing homes in many states are starting to reemerge from the lockdowns that were imposed in March, it’s essential that you begin to keep an eye out for nursing home negligence and abuse. Of course, doing so is easier said than done. It may be difficult to understand where to look, who to talk to, and what to ask.

In general, it’s important to note any changes in your loved one’s appearance and demeanor. Likewise, observe what else is happening in the building in terms of cleanliness, face masks, and access to basic materials. Does there appear to be sufficient staffing in the building? Do you notice residents and staff that appear to have symptoms of COVID-19?

If you discern anything out of the ordinary, contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Reporting nursing home abuse is an important first step to prevent COVID-19 from further harming your loved one and other residents around them. It’s up to you to act as a spokesperson for your elderly loved one and seek legal action against the negligent nursing home.

Call an Expert Nursing Home Coronavirus Exposure Lawyer in New York City

During this critical time, nursing homes must take every precaution to protect their residents and front-line employees from being exposed to or contracting COVID-19. Many nursing homes have protected their residents by following guidelines and adhering to strict protocols, but other facilities have neglected the wellbeing of the most vulnerable among us. If you suspect a loved one has suffered neglect during the coronavirus pandemic, the attorneys at Dalli & Marino are here to help.

Our seasoned New York trial attorneys have been aggressively advocating for victims of nursing abuse since 1996. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients through trust and communication to ensure that we fully understand your needs. Our highly skilled team approaches each case on an individual basis and is dedicated to helping you recover the money you deserve to compensate you for your loss. Give us a call at (888) 465-8790 or complete our contact form today.