| Read Time: 3 minutes | Nursing Home Negligence

COVID-19 and Nursing Homes: What You Should Know

COVID-19, coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Whatever you call it, there is no doubt your newsfeed and daily life have been affected by this illness in some way. More susceptible to COVID-19 are those with weakened immune systems. For example, the elderly. In fact, nursing homes are one of the most at-risk places when it comes to contracting the coronavirus. Let’s look at some numbers. More than 25% of Virginia’s nursing home residents have already died due to COVID-19. Over 100 residents and employees in just one nursing home in Kansas have contracted the virus. Overall, it is estimated that over 7,000 deaths from the virus have been linked to nursing homes. In Florida, it is reported that 1 out of every 4 cases of the virus has been contracted in a nursing home. What this means for you and your loved ones If you have a loved one in a long-term care facility, it is important you are aware of what is going on. It might seem like below-standard care is a new issue. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a new problem. Studies show that some nursing homes that have reported cases of COVID-19 have also violated federal regulations in years before. Specifically, regulations regarding infectious diseases. So, what does this mean for you? First, you’ll want to make sure that the nursing home staff are keeping you updated. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask to speak to your loved one. Ask them simple, but important questions. How are they feeling? Have they told staff? Have the staff looked into complaints about not feeling well? Time is everything When it comes to coronavirus, or any infectious disease, time is everything. It is important your loved one receives proper care and treatment as soon as they start feeling badly. With lots of nursing homes being understaffed due to the virus, it is more possible than ever for something to be missed. If you or your loved one’s concerns are ignored and care is put off, there could be negative affects later on. What should you do? These troubling times have a lot of people considering whether or not they should pull their loved one from facilities. Before you make this decision, it is important to consider a few things. You might want to ask yourself, Do I have the ability to provide around-the-clock care? Is everyone in my house staying home, or are they still working, etc.? Trying to move your loved one during this time could possibly be more detrimental than you think. This is why we stress the importance of checking in with your nursing home to understand their policies and procedures regarding COVID-19. Peace of mind Also, do not hesitate to contact the nursing home your loved one is in. Ask them what they are doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Feel free to ask any questions concerning your loved one as well. Especially since most nursing homes have limited or temporarily suspended visiting times. It is also your right to pull your loved one from the nursing home if you feel that they will be safer at home, which is what some in New Jersey have done. Thankfully, the Trump Administration recently announced some new regulations for nursing homes. Nursing homes and long-term care facilities will be required to report any COVID-19 cases. Any cases of the virus must be reported to residents and their family members as well. Hopefully these new regulations will help prevent the rapid spread of the virus. How we can help you If you or a loved one became ill or suffered a serious injury or wrongful death due to negligence in a long term care facility, including contracting COVID-19, give us a call today to discuss your options. Our team would be happy to answer any questions you have. Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients. If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help. You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | medical malpractice

Nursing Home Abuse: Bed Sores

Putting a loved one in a nursing home for long-term or end-of-life care is a heart wrenching decision even under the best of circumstances.You want to make sure your loved one receives the best care possible, and yet you don’t know, exactly, what to expect. Your choice of facility may be limited by insurance requirements or financial concerns, or you may not be able to keep as close an eye on things as you would like. Even though you want to trust that the facility you choose will provide the best, most attentive care at all times, the fact is that some nursing homes fall short of expectations. How do you recognize the signs of negligence in a nursing home? Pressure Ulcers A glaring sign of negligence in a nursing home setting is the presence of bed sores. Also known as pressure ulcers, bed sores are a common ailment among the bedridden and immobile, even though they are highly preventable. In 2004, 1 in 10 residents in nursing homes were affected by bed sores; the percentage was slightly higher – 14% – for those under the age of 64. What causes pressure ulcers? In general, patients who have difficulty changing positions on their own are susceptible to pressure ulcers. A pressure ulcer forms when soft tissue is compressed between a bone and a hard surface, such as a bed or chair, for an extended period of time. The lack of adequate blood flow to the site can cause the affected tissue to die,creating a lesion. This process can happen in as little as two hours for some patients. Common sites for bed sores are the back of the head and ears, shoulders, elbows, lower back and buttocks, hips, inner knees, and heels. Sores can also develop in areas where skin folds over on itself, or where medical equipment puts pressure on the skin, such as with oxygen tubing. Additional Risk Factors While individuals with limited mobility are highly susceptible to bed sores, there are other risk factors that can increase the probability a patient will develop these very painful lesions. These risk factors include: Thin, fragile, dry skin, such as associated with elderly patients Very dry/very moist skin Dehydration and/or lack of adequate nutrition Bowel or bladder incontinence Smoking Paralysis/lack of sensory perception Lack of mental awareness/lessened mental awareness Weight loss associated with illness Diabetes or vascular disease Muscle spasms The presence of these risk factors in a nursing home resident does not guarantee they will develop pressure ulcers; it is the lack of proper care that causes bed sores to form. Treating Bed Sores The first line of defense in treating bed sores is prevention. This includes regular and frequent repositioning in a bed or wheelchair, keeping the skin clean and dry, and routine examination of skin, particularly in areas where bed sores are commonly seen. Most bed sores begin as a reddened, tender area that may feel warm to the touch. Immediate care of the area can include cleansing the affected skin and use of antibiotics. Unless the affected area is treated right away, the ulcer will progress into damaged tissue. Further progression can result in dead and dying tissue, infection, and, in some cases, death. If Your Loved One Has Bed Sores Unfortunately, bed sores can develop due to a lack of proper preventative care, and can be an indication of the negligence of a nursing home toward its residents. Such facilities may be understaffed or have poor hiring practices as well as a lack of proper supervision for resident case management. And if a patient has developed bed sores, it’s possible that other forms of abuse or neglect are present at the facility. You have a right to expect a high standard of care for your loved one at a nursing home, and if you suspect that your loved one is not getting this high standard of care, you have the right to seek out answers. Seek the advice of an attorney experienced in nursing home negligence issues to get the justice that your loved one deserves.Contact Gerling Law – it won’t cost you a thing to see if we can help!

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