COVID-19 in New York City Nursing Homes Lawyer
COVID-19 is a disease that strikes the young and old, the healthy and the sick, and can be debilitating or fatal to anyone. That said, COVID-19 is known to be especially harmful and risky to older persons and persons with weakened immune systems, frailty or other health conditions. Another thing we know about this coronavirus is that it is highly contagious and spreads rapidly from person-to-person contact. These factors combine to make nursing home residents especially vulnerable to the ravages of this disease.
New York City nursing homes are under orders from the state regarding what they can and can’t do in response to the coronavirus pandemic. One thing they certainly cannot do is abandon their responsibilities to the people in their care. Nursing home residents rely on the staff and administration to keep them safe and healthy, as they cannot by and large care for themselves or go anywhere else.
In the best of times, nursing homes vary in quality from place to place and over time, and residents often rely on their family members, friends and government regulators to keep a check on them and the nursing homes to make sure the facilities are well-maintained and operating within guidelines, and that the residents are kept free from abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, visitors are not kept out of the facilities and can’t see their loved ones, while government inspections, already not conducted frequently enough, have been halted.
Your loved one in a nursing home can’t wait for the pandemic to pass before they begin receiving adequate care. You need to know that the nursing home is doing all that it can to keep your loved one healthy and safe. New York City nursing home abuse lawyer Michael Gunzburg can help. Call Michael Gunzburg, P.C. if you believe your loved one is not receiving adequate care in a New York City nursing home in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens. We’ll find a way to investigate, find out what’s going on, and hold the facility accountable for any neglect, abuse or health and safety violations that are putting your family member at risk.
Nursing in the Time of COVID-19
Many New York City nursing homes are woefully understaffed at facilities where the owners put profits ahead of patient care. Nursing staff suffer from high turnover rates and a lack of training, but they are also a dedicated lot. All of the following practices have been documented in various nursing homes:
- Nurses hiding cleaning supplies in the ceiling to keep from running out
- Nurses making washcloths out of bedsheets
- Nurses bringing in disinfecting wipes from home
- Nurses wearing garbage bags as makeshift PPE because they aren’t provided any
Do you want to know the scariest part? All of these practices were documented in nursing homes long before and unrelated to the current coronavirus pandemic. Now, nursing homes have less staff than ever as workers are out sick, staying home to care for ill family members, or simply staying away for self-protection. Those left behind have to do more with less than ever before, and your family member may be the one who suffers for it.
How Is New York State Dealing With the Coronavirus in Nursing Homes?
New York’s response to the pandemic in regard to nursing homes has been a mixed bag at best. By order of the governor on March 25, New York nursing homes have been required to readmit residents who were sent to the hospital for COVID-19, after they have been treated and released. Also under the March 25th order, New York nursing homes are prohibited from testing new residents for COVID-19. These measures mean nursing homes can’t turn away patients based on concerns related to the pandemic, which helps those residents needing care but puts others at risk of infection who were otherwise staying safe.
Not surprisingly, nursing home cases spiked after this order was put in place. An internal investigation revealed that COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes were seriously undercounted and underreported. In response, the New York State Assembly passed a bill, signed into law by the Governor, to protect nursing homes from being sued based on the way they were dealing with COVID-19.
New York City Nursing Home Residents Suffer From Lack of Socialization
Socialization has gone out the window for most people during the pandemic, and nursing home residents have not been spared. Social distancing guidelines basically require nursing homes to confine residents to their rooms, even during meal times. Group activities, recreation and enrichment have likewise been severely restricted or altogether ceased. Sadly, many residents now have nothing to do but sit alone in their rooms and dwell on their mortality and other negative thoughts. The mental health of nursing home residents under these conditions is surely in question.
Call a New York City Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Today
If you believe that your family member is being abused or neglected in a New York City nursing home or is being unnecessarily placed at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, call Michael Gunzburg, P.C., for a no-cost, confidential consultation about your concerns. Passionate about law and compassionate with clients, we strive to see that our clients are taken care of as much as possible.