If your loved one resides in an Alabama nursing home, do not assume that the nursing home is adopting best practices to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) among its residents and employees.
As COVID-19 spreads, now is the time to be vigilant, thorough, persistent, and prepared.
Below are questions you should ask your loved one’s nursing home to address problems we are witnessing across the southeast.
Reach out to our Alabama nursing home abuse attorneys if you have any questions or need help with your claim.
Are you testing all residents?
COVID-19 is highly contagious, and nursing homes are Petri dishes.
The most at-risk population are senior citizens with pre-existing conditions, i.e., the quintessential nursing home resident.
Many carriers of COVID-19 are asymptomatic and do not get tested. Thus, nursing homes should test every single resident and employee for COVID-19 regardless of symptoms.
We are seeing cases where a resident or employee with no or minor symptoms tests positive for COVID-19 after a random test is administered by the county.
But for the random test, the infected person would not have been tested and his or her infection would have remained unknown.
In one instance, even after residents and employees tested positive for COVID-19 (after random testing), the nursing home failed to test other residents and employees unless they demonstrated the symptoms reflected in the CDC’s general population testing guidance.
This is insane for obvious reasons—carriers of COVID-19 are both asymptomatic and symptomatic and high-risk nursing home residents can contract COVID-19 from both types of carriers.
You should demand that your loved one’s nursing home test all employees and residents.
In the event, the nursing home argues they do not have enough tests, ask how it is obtaining tests and what measures it is taking to obtain tests (e.g., requests made to the governor’s office; county health officials; private vendors).
Ask if they have ordered or have access to new testing equipment approved by the FDA, including, for example, the new equipment available from Abbott Labs.
What is your protocol after an employee or resident tests positive?
Any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 should be immediately removed from the facility and placed in a quarantine protocol.
The employee should test negative before returning to work. Any nursing home resident that tests positive for COVID-19 should be immediately removed from the nursing home facility and sent to a hospital for treatment and quarantine protocol.
Ask the nursing home which hospital will treat infected residents and make sure that the hospital is equipped to handle elderly COVID-19 patients.
At a minimum, every employee or resident that encountered the infected individual or was located in the individual’s building should be immediately tested.
Are you allowing residents infected with COVID-19 to return from the hospital who have not tested negative?
It goes without saying that infected residents should not return to nursing homes unless they have recovered from the virus and tested negative.
Unbelievably, Jefferson County, Alabama has instructed nursing homes to take back residents who are still infected with COVID-19.
This is idiotic and reckless beyond belief.
In the event, your loved one resides in a nursing home located in Jefferson County or Birmingham, Alabama, ask the nursing home to immediately notify you if it allows any infected resident to return prior to testing negative.
If the nursing home says that it must take residents back prematurely to comply with the government, ask what safety and quarantine measures are in place to protect non-infected residents.
Keep in mind that even if infected residents are quarantined in a separate wing, employees or others could transmit the virus from the quarantined area to the non-quarantined area.
Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Lawyer in Alabama
If you believe your loved one has died or been infected with COVID-19 because of the negligence or recklessness of a nursing home, hospital, or county health department, please call (205) 407-6009 or send a message to the Alabama nursing home attorneys at the Fob James Law Firm.
We are ready to investigate your case and help in any way we can.