Coronavirus Implications for Nursing Home Residents

Nursing homes in NY opened July 15 for in person visits

First and foremost, we hope you and your loved ones are safe, healthy, and doing everything within your ability to minimize the risk of this virus. The Coronavirus and the potential implications for nursing home residents is real and extremely serious. Our seniors our most vulnerable to the affects of this pandemic. Being a little older combined with an underlying health condition places one at a heightened risk from a complication of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

On March 13, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directed nursing homes to significantly limited visits of residents by family and friends. The CDC also restricted communal activities inside of nursing homes. This is an attempt to protect residents. As stated by CMS Administrator Seema Verma: “As we learn more about the Coronavirus from experts on the ground, we’ve learned that seniors with multiple conditions are at highest risk for infection and complications, so CMS is using every tool at our disposal to keep nursing homes free from infection.” “Temporarily restricting visitors and nonessential workers will help reduce the risk of Coronavirus spread in nursing homes, keeping residents safe.”

Restricted are visits by volunteers, nonessential health care personnel (i.e. grooming needs), and cancelling group activities and dining. Exceptions are to be made for “compassionate care” needs. Regrettably, there is an associated cost to these restrictions. The emotional harm of limited contact cannot be overly stated. It is often those closest to the resident who notice a change in condition. The CDC has recommended (hopefully, there will be compliance) that nursing homes place hand sanitizers with 60-95 percent alcohol in every resident room, sinks well-stocked with soap and paper towels, tissues and facemasks made available, and hospital grade disinfectants available for frequent cleaning of areas that are readily in touch.

The Need for Health Care Professionals

However, the Trump Administration has loosened oversight of the nursing home industry. Including, regrettably, are rules that help curb deadly infections of residents. As of this writing, there has been roll-back to pre COVID-19 oversight. This effort began last summer with a push by lobbyists and campaign contributions to the nursing home industry. In July, 2019, CMS began implementing changes imposed by the prior Administration that required every nursing home to have a minimum of one infection specialist on staff. There should be no surprise of a correlation between The Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington and the 26 residents who have died, 13 of whom were confirmed to have COVID-19. It is worth noting that this facility had the top-quality rating from CMS. Although Ms. Verma claims that the changes are still in the proposal stage, her response to criticism: “We have to make sure that our regulations are not so burdensome that they hurt the industry,” Permit me to repeat that: “We have to make sure that our regulations are not so burdensome that they hurt the industry,” That is appalling to me. Based upon this statement CMS is putting corporate largess over the welfare of our seniors. Before COVID-19, 380,000 residents were killed each year due to infections. Going forward one can only guess or surmise. Clearly, there will be a spike in otherwise preventable injuries such as bedsores and those fall related. Pending implementation are lessening oversight of staffing to medical equipment needs. The number one cause of preventable injury in nursing homes is insufficient staffing ( This should not be allowed to happen.

Nursing Home Advocates

If you or someone you know is injured please consider contacting Adams Law Firm, P.C. We have a successfully advocated on behalf of those injured due to harm, abuse and neglect throughout New York State and Northern New Jersey. There is no legal fee until we are successful.

Should you have any question, please contact us toll free at 888 MY 911 LAW (888.699.1152), or by email at [email protected]. Thank you.

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