In Alabama, nursing home deaths account for 47% of all COVID-19 related deaths. This percentage is shockingly high when nursing home residents only make up .3% of Alabama’s overall population. Despite many nursing home residents receiving the COVID-19 vaccine through December, vaccination efforts have come to a halt. According to USA Healthcare’s CEO, there is no follow-up plan for new nursing home employees or patients. When a nursing home’s negligence causes a resident’s death, family members may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Despite the COVID-19 Vaccine, Many Nursing Home Residents are Not Protected
USA Healthcare is attempting to negotiate with Alabama’s Department of Public Health to work out a plan so more nursing home residents can receive the vaccine. However, when new residents come in, some have received only one dose of the vaccine or none at all. When new employees come in, they may or may not have received the vaccine. Tracking all the information and trying to encourage employees to receive the vaccine is challenging. Additionally, fewer than 60% of employees in nursing home facilities have agreed to receive the vaccination.
Nursing homes should be testing every employee for COVID-19 with a rapid test before the beginning of their shift. Unfortunately, rapid result tests are not entirely reliable. Up to 6% of nursing home employees receive false positives from the test. Many employees also received false negatives, resulting in them showing up to work with COVID-19 and spreading it among residents with a high fatality risk.
Nursing Homes Deaths Continue During the COVID-19 Pandemic
After a year of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, experts understand that the nursing home community is extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. Transmission among nursing home residents is exceptionally high. The COVID-19 vaccination protects many residents. However, there are many barriers to achieving widespread vaccinations. Many employees refuse to get vaccinated, and new employees and residents arrive who have not been vaccinated.
Nursing Home Negligence Can Cause COVID-19 Deaths
Some nursing homes may be tempted to become less stringent regarding COVID-19 protection measures now that the vaccine has become available. The vaccine may give nursing home staff a false sense of security. Even with the vaccine being available, nursing homes still have a legal duty to use reasonable care to protect their residents from COVID-19. Nursing homes must take other precautions to continue to reduce deaths in their facilities.
Nursing homes are liable for a resident or employee’s death when their negligence or recklessness caused the victim’s death. Nursing homes cannot prevent coronavirus cases entirely. However, nursing homes have a legal responsibility to use reasonable precautions to avoid coronavirus spread. For example, nursing homes must tell families if their loved ones develop new respiratory symptoms within 72 hours.
They also have a responsibility to obey all of the Alabama executive orders related to COVID-19. Finally, nursing homes must follow the regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These guidelines help us determine what steps nursing homes should be taking to protect their residents. Nursing homes may be liable when they fail to test employees for COVID-19, fail to send employees home who are sick, allow residents to be near each other, or engage in other unsafe practices.
Steps to Take if Your Loved One Died of COVID-19 in a Nursing Home
If you suspect that your loved one contracted COVID-19 in an Alabama nursing home, causing his or her death, we recommend speaking to an experienced personal injury lawyer. Whether your loved one was a nursing home resident or a nursing home employee, you may be entitled to damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. While nothing can bring your loved one back, recovering compensation would allow you to hold the nursing home accountable for its negligence. It will also allow you to pay your loved one’s medical expenses, funeral expenses, and recover compensation for his or her lost income.
Coping after a loved one’s death is always difficult. However, knowing that your loved one died due to the negligence of their nursing home staff can be incredibly challenging. have you lost your loved one in a preventable COVID-19 related nursing home death? If so, contact Heninger Garrison Davis for more information about whether you can recover compensation.