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How Are Nursing Homes Recovering After COVID?

How Are Nursing Homes Recovering After COVID?

June 29, 2021 | COVID-19

How Are Nursing Homes Recovering After COVID?

Vacancy rates in New York nursing homes have been rising due to the lack of trust caused by the handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

High numbers of nursing home inhabitants passed away during the pandemic, and occupancy rates are still low compared to pre-COVID numbers. Nearly half of all Americans now say the pandemic has lowered their faith in the care home system. 

Poor Nursing Home Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

In a 76-page report published earlier this year, New York Attorney General Letitia James claimed that the state of New York had under-reported deaths from coronavirus in care homes by up to 50%. The Attorney General and her team conducted a lengthy fact-finding probe that included research into allegations that safety rules were breached.

The investigation team discovered the overall number of COVID-19 deaths connected with nursing homes jumped by 50% when the tally also included nursing home residents who had passed away in hospitals. Official tallies had been skewed, and there was no way of going back and re-calculating the thousands of lost lives.

What Does the Future Hold for Long-Term Care Home Residents?

Today, there are many long-term residents in nursing homes who have family members that are concerned about what the future may bring. With every COVID-19 variant that is introduced, there is always a chance of another disaster hitting their loved one’s care home.

Will nursing homes be prepared this time around with adequate amounts of personal protection equipment? Will there be enough tests for staff and residents alike? What policies will nursing homes enact to prevent the spread of diseases while ensuring each resident is fully cared for?

Many current long-term residents survived the first pandemic with no physical contact from their families. They found the isolation from loved ones devastating for their mental health. They complained of poor quality of life throughout the pandemic, with limited staff on hand at nursing homes to help them with simple day-to-day needs.

Reports were made of residents left sitting in their own waste for hours at a time because no nurses were available to assist them. Staff left some residents alone to eat meals unaided when the residents truly needed help.

Even if another strain of COVID-19 does not emerge, the pandemic has put a spotlight on significant issues in nursing homes that need to be addressed, including low staff-to-resident ratios and residents not receiving the care they need, resulting in negligence and even abuse. These issues need to be addressed in order for the care system to fully recover.

Nursing Homes Need More Staff

Presently, there are lawsuits in parts of NY state related to COVID-19 negligence fatalities in nursing homes. Often, the needs of nursing home patients were overlooked because the nursing home was short staffed. This problem is a common one across the United States, resulting in the country’s most vulnerable people being left unattended.

In May 2021, the state enacted new laws to create minimum staff levels for care homes and hospitals. This was in response to the claim that understaffing at these sites was a major contributor to the high rates of COVID-19 infection. While the new minimum staffing laws were a step in the right direction, they still lacked crucial sticking points that many of the advocacy groups asked for, such as having registered nurses on hand at care homes around the clock.

Moving Past the COVID-19 Crisis for Nursing Homes

Nursing homes and adult living facilities can move past the COVID-19 crisis to put together a new care plan for their residents. Many experts in this field, as well as advocates for residents, are asking for a greater ratio of staff to residents, but this will, of course, require more funding to subsidize the growth.

To repair the damage that’s been done, facilities can and should be held responsible for negligence that has led to patient harm. Learn more about COVID-19 nursing home lawsuits and receive a free consultation from Napoli Shkolnik’s personal injury attorneys fighting nursing home abuse and COVID-19 nursing home death cases. Contact us today for more information and a free evaluation of your claim.

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CATEGORY: COVID-19

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