Articles Posted in Coronavirus

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, nursing home residents are among the hardest hit demographic and make up a large portion of the fatalities nationwide. Though the virus is undoubtedly deadly, especially for elderly individuals and those with compromised immunity, the concentration of deaths in nursing homes is concerning. Adding to that concern is the fact nursing homes are currently permitted to self-inspect as a result of the pandemic. The lack of oversight presents numerous issues we’ll explore more.

Independent Inspections Suspended

At the outset of the pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) decided to temporarily stop regular inspections at over 15,300 nursing home facilities nationwide to focus instead on the coronavirus threat. Instead, routine inspections were developed and implemented as a way to safeguard the residents. Unfortunately, when the government halted its own inspections, it authorized nursing home facilities to self-inspect.

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Nursing homes have been a hotbed for the spread of coronavirus during the current pandemic, putting not only elderly residents but employees at these facilities in danger as well. In California, interim regulations have been put in place granting these employees the right to be protected at work if their job exposes them to Covid-19 or other airborne infectious diseases. Here is an overview of the current rights of protection for employees in California’s skilled nursing and long-term care facilities (Facilities).

Cal/OSHA Requirements

Currently, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (better known as Cal/OSHA) protects employees by setting and enforcing standards to keep workers safe on the job. Under the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) standard, requirements are set to protect employees from diseases, including Covid-19, transmitted by aerosols. The ATD standard applies to Facilities. At these Facilities, the requirements for employee protection vary depending on whether the employer does or does not transfer suspected and confirmed Covid-19 positive patients to hospitals for airborne infection isolation.

COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has put a stop to the regular structure of our lives. We no longer are able to move about freely and often find ourselves having not spoken to another person for hours at a time. This isolation that has been imposed upon us is what our elderly loved ones feel on a daily basis living in their homes as they age. One way we have all tried to combat this symptom of aging is to place our elderly loved ones into a nursing home. Often times this is out of necessity due to medical concerns, but it also allows for them to have human interaction on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, with COVID-19 spreading throughout our world, we have had to place great restrictions on nursing home visitations. Therefore, while so many of us would go visit our loved ones at their nursing homes on a daily or weekly basis to ensure their treatment and medical concerns were being met, we now are literally locked out of their care. In addition, the nursing homes are experiencing a shortage of workers due to illness and fatigue leaving us to wonder if our loved ones are being properly cared for. Understaffing is a growing problem in the United States and has been for a long time. With the new novel Coronavirus, the rate of understaffing is at an all-time high.

While we understand the need for the lockdown in the facilities to try to ensure the virus does not enter these facilities where many patients have compromised immune systems, the distance is hard for all involved. There are some things that you can still do to see your elderly loved one and ensure their proper care is continuing.

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