Nursing Home Coronavirus Cases Reviewed For Wrongful Deaths and COVID-19 Outbreaks That May Have Been Avoided
Like much of the U.S., a number of nursing homes in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia have become epicenters for the coronavirus outbreak, with COVID-19 infections having a particularly devastating impact on elderly and ill residents. However, not all nursing homes have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic the same way, highlighting the differences in quality of care and staffing levels at different facilities.
While residents of nursing homes are particularly susceptible to the most serious impact from COVID-19, there appears to be mounting evidence that many coronavirus nursing home deaths may have been avoided if long-term care facilities had been more prepared and followed recommendations that are designed to prevent exposure and the rapid spread of infections.
The nursing home neglect lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are closely monitoring this evolving situation, and investigating potential coronavirus wrongful death lawsuits for families of individuals who died as a result of infections, where the facility may not have followed guidelines and recommendations, including:
- Failing to Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Failing to Provide Adequate Staffing Levels
- Failing to Restrict Visitors
- Failing to Quarantine Sick Residents
- Failing to Screen Employees
- Failing to Report Illnesses and Deaths to Health Agencies
If your loved one was a resident at a nursing home prior to the widespread emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 after steps should have been in place to prevent the spread of the infection, contact our lawyers to help determine whether your family may have a case.
All nursing home coronavirus lawsuits are being investigated and evaluated by our lawyers under a contingency fee agreement, which means that there are no fees or expenses unless a recovery or settlement is obtained for you and your family. Request a free consultation and claim evaluation.
COVID-19 Nursing Home Infection Problems
Since the start of the pandemic, reports suggest that as many as a quarter of all COVID-19 infections and deaths have occurred in nursing homes nationwide. Fortunately, that percentage has declined as responsible nursing home facilities stepped up infection control efforts. However, far too many facilities have failed to take appropriate actions and exposed residents to a risk of the deadly infection when preventative measures may have avoided the injury.
According to data reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in mid-August 2020, nursing homes have reported more than 300,000 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, and about 50,000 deaths. Those numbers are believed to be far below the actual number of illnesses and deaths due to the virus in nursing homes.
A review of state inspection records by The Sun has revealed that at least 64 facilities have been fined for failure to institute proper infection control procedures or protect residents from the coronavirus. Among those facilities, massive fines were levied against several Maryland nursing homes where COVID-19 outbreaks have been a particular problem, including:
- Sagepoint Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Charles County: $380,000.
- Brinton Woods Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Sykesville: $315,000.
- Kensington Healthcare Center in Kensington: $294,000
- Collingswood Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Rockville: $275,000
- St Joseph’s Ministries in Emmitsburg: $280,000.
- Cadia Healthcare in Hagerstown: $215,000
- Overlea Health and Rehabilitation Center in Baltimore: $150,000
- Potomac Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Rockville: $120,000.
Preventing Nursing Home Coronavirus Infections
While the response to the coronavirus pandemic has varied greatly in different states and among different facilities, since early March 2020, the CDC has provided detailed guidance for nursing homes preparing for COVID-19, focusing on:
- Keeping coronavirus from enter the facility;
- Identifying COVID-19 cases early;
- Preventing spread of the virus between residents and/or staff members;
- Accessing personal protective equipment (PPE) and optimizing current supply;
- Managing severe illnesses.
On March 10, Governor Larry Hogan issued guidance for Maryland nursing homes, assisted living facilities and retirement communities, calling for:
- Active screening for all individuals entering the facility;
- Restricting access to essential visitors only;
- Keeping individuals with any respiratory symptoms or COVID-19 exposure from entering the facility;
- Requiring all individuals to wash their hands upon entry;
- Establishing means for remote communication between residents and others;
- Restricting travel and other activities of staff members when leaving the facility;
Many facilities have taken careful steps and actions to avoid COVID-19 infections in their nursing homes, yet other facilities have been hit with coronavirus outbreaks that have quickly spread among residents.
While it remains early in the investigation into many these nursing home COVID-19 infection cases, potential signs suggest that some of the hardest hit facilities are also those that have a long-history of inadequate measures to protect the safety and health of residents, including facilities with chronic issues involving inadequate staffing levels, failure to supervise nursing home staff, reports of dehydration/malnutrition, falls, bed sores and other signs of negligent nursing home care.
Maryland Nursing Home Coronavirus Outbreak
Pleasant View Nursing Home in Maryland’s Carroll County is one tragic example, where dozens of COVID-19 deaths have been linked to the facility, which has an overall ranking of only one star (out of five) on the Medicare Nursing Home Compare website.
According to a report by WMAR TV, as of April 20, at least 82 residents at Pleasant View Nursing Home tested positive for COVID-19, as well as 39 staff members, with at least 26 deaths.
While the exact cause and circumstances surrounding these Maryland COVID-19 nursing home cases is still being investigated, Pleasant View has historically performed poorly in every category measured, with ratings of “Below Average” or “Much Below Average” for staffing levels, health inspections and quality measures.
Virginia Nursing Home COVID-19 Outbreak
Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center is another poorly rated nursing home in Richmond, Virginia, which has been hard hit by a coronavirus outbreak.
A recent report by the New York Times highlights how the coronavirus spread quickly at the nursing home, after those in charge delayed action. The managers at Canterbury Rehab have admitted to media outlets that the nursing home was understaffed, which has been reflected in prior evaluations.
According to the Medicare Nursing Home Compare website, the Virginia nursing home was rated as “Much Below Average” in staffing levels and health inspections, resulting in an overall rating of only two out of five possible stars.
Coronavirus Nursing Home Lawyers
The nursing home coronavirus wrongful lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. provide free consultations and claim evaluations for families who have lost a loved one due to a COVID-19 infection.
The circumstances surrounding the outbreak will be evaluated to help determine whether financial compensation may be available for injuries or wrongful deaths associated with coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania and Virginia.