Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence

Over the past month, the novel coronavirus has quickly spread across the United States, infecting hundreds of thousands. The current administration estimates that tens of thousands of people will die as a result of COVID-19. While the virus does not seriously jeopardize the health of everyone infected, older Americans, as well as those with pre-existing health conditions, are among the most at-risk populations of experiencing serious health complications. Not surprisingly, Virginia nursing home residents are especially at risk.

According to a recent news report, a total of 16 residents of a Virginia long-term care facility have now died from the coronavirus. It appears that all those who died caught the virus from the facility, The Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in suburban Richmond. This count includes the deaths of five residents who had been sick with the virus for weeks.

In all, over 90 residents have tested positive since mid-March, when the facility began testing residents and staff. This figure represents two-thirds of the entire resident population. More than half of those who tested positive did not show any symptoms of the virus.

Earlier this year, the coronavirus pandemic took the country by storm, quickly spreading from what was just a few select cities to every state in the nation. One of the first clusters of COVID-19 cases was in a Washington state nursing home, where at least 37 residents died as a result of the virus. Indeed, among those most at risk for developing serious and potentially fatal coronavirus symptoms are those living in Virginia nursing homes. Currently, several states have banned friends and family members from visiting loved ones in nursing homes in an attempt to stop – or at least – slow the spread of COVID-19.

However, at a time when one may think that nursing home regulations would be getting stricter, the opposite seems to be the case. According to a recent news report by the New York Times, the current administration has been working to relax the regulations that control the country’s nursing homes. Shockingly, this even includes measures designed to combat the spread of deadly infections between residents.

Last July, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a plan that would, among other things, relieve nursing homes from complying with an Obama-era rule requiring facilities to employ at least one specialist with knowledge of preventing infections. Under the proposed rule, facilities would no longer need even a part-time infection disease specialist, and instead would require such a specialist to spend “sufficient time at the facility.”

When a family entrusts a Virginia nursing home with the care of their loved one, the family rightfully expects the nursing home to engage in the proper care and treatment of their family member. Nursing homes and their employees owe their residents a duty of care to ensure their safety and well-being. In cases where a nursing home places a resident in danger or causes them harm, the resident or their family members may file a Virginia personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the facility.

Virginia takes nursing home abuse very seriously, and the legislature has enacted several laws specifically directed to protect nursing home residents. Additionally, nursing homes and their employees owe their residents a common-law duty to protect them from abuse. Protecting residents involves engaging in a vigorous hiring and training process. Included in this are extensive background checks and continuous reviews of their employees’ practices. When a nursing home fails to take these necessary steps, residents are often put in jeopardy.

Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect because they often lack some of their mental and physical faculties. For example, they may not be able to articulate or even remember the cause of their injuries. Some common types of abuse are physical, mental, sexual, and financial abuse. In these cases, the employee who engaged in abusive behavior may be held liable. Additionally, the nursing home may also be responsible based on the theory of vicarious liability or respondeat superior.

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