Many nursing home residents rightfully rejoiced this week as nursing homes began receiving vaccines for distribution. Long-term care facilities have suffered many of the COVID-19 deaths in the country. At least a third of COVID-19 deaths in the United States have been among residents and employees of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. There have now been more than 20,000 cases of COVID-19 in Maryland nursing homes, group homes, and assisted living facilities in Maryland and at least 2,200 resident deaths during the pandemic. Deaths in these facilities have accounted for about half of the state’s death toll.
According to a recent New York Times report, Finally, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are beginning to distribute COVID-19 vaccinations this week in the state’s long-term care facilities. Many residents are anxious to get vaccinated and end a long period of isolation from their families. Vaccinations have begun to be administered in facilities just as the conditions in the facilities have deteriorated again. According to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, there have been almost 20,000 cases and about 5,000 deaths per week in recent reports.
However, even as residents and staff are beginning to get vaccinated and celebrate the milestone, Maryland nursing homes and long-term care facilities must still take care not to spread COVID-19 in the facilities by relaxing precautions yet. Vaccinations are voluntary, so most nursing homes likely will not be able to vaccinate all residents and staff. Facilities may also have difficulty obtaining informed consent from patients who lack the capacity to make the decision on their own. Facilities will still have to protect residents who do not get the vaccine. In addition, it is not clear if the vaccine will be 95 percent effective among older people who are more vulnerable to disease in general.
Can a Nursing Home Be REsponsible for a REsident's COVID-related death?
Given this, nursing homes may be liable if they fail to take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 despite the vaccinations. A resident may be able to recover compensation from the facility if the resident contracts COVID-19 and the facility failed to adequately protect the resident. This could be due to the facility’s failure to sanitize effectively, failure to provide information about positive cases to other residents, and failure to isolate residents with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, for example. Nursing homes must take appropriate measures to investigate and control infections, isolate infected residents, and inform residents and their families of positive cases within the facility.
Discuss Your Case with a Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer
If you or a loved one has contracted COVID-19 in a nursing home or another long-term care facility, reach out to an experienced Maryland nursing home lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible. Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, take pride in advocating for the rights of victims against nursing homes, neglectful health care providers, and others. They have more than 20 years of experience representing Baltimore residents and other victims throughout Maryland. Call them toll-free at (800) 654-1949 or contact them online to schedule a free consultation.