With more than 300 nursing homes and 4,000 assisted living facilities throughout Wisconsin, our community must take action to protect the elderly amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Specifically, it’s critical these facilities follow new guidelines and procedures recommended by health organizations and officials to protect residents from COVID-19.
Be an advocate for the elderly. Below, Boller & Vaughan share important questions you can ask these facilities to help keep loved ones safe.
If you or a loved one finds that a facility is not taking steps to protect residents from COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, alert a doctor, nurse, healthcare professional, or Wisconsin’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
New Protocols for Nursing Homes
Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other care centers are currently at great risk. COVID-19 is highly contagious, and easily spreads from person to person.
According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), “The underlying health conditions and advanced age of many long-term care facility residents and the shared location of patients in one facility places these persons at risk for severe morbidity and death.”
The CDC along with other health organizations have developed safety protocols for nursing homes and similar care facilities to fight the rapid spread of COVID-19.
This includes taking proactive measures to identify potentially infected staff members, restricting visitation, and strengthening infection prevention and control guidance and adherence.
Important Questions to Ask These Facilities
The elderly and the infirm are counting on all of us to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but they’re also counting on us to make sure nursing homes and other facilities are taking the appropriate steps to avoid a facility outbreak.
Be an advocate for your elderly loved ones. To ensure these facilities are following safety protocols, contact the facility and ask the following questions:
- Are group activities being canceled?
- How does the facility plan to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak?
- How is the facility adapting family visitation?
- Does the facility have an Airborne Infection Isolation Room (AIIR)?
- How is the facility prepared with regards to food, medications, and other things residents might need?
- What steps are they taking to ensure residents, staff, and family members are informed on changes in the facility’s operation?
- What kind of cleaning supplies are being used in the facility and how often are they being used?
If you find that a facility is not taking steps to protect residents from COVID-19, the experienced elder abuse lawyers at Boller & Vaughan can help. Call us today at 608-268-0268 or connect with our team online.
Visitation Protocols May Have Changed
In February of this year, a long-term residential care facility in Washington reported 81 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among elderly residents, 34 staff members, and 14 visitors. Sadly, 23 people died as a result of “limitations in effective infection control and prevention.”
If you plan to visit a nursing home or other long-term care facility in Wisconsin, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has tightened rules for visitors.
These facilities may ask you to:
- Wear a facemask or other personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Return to the facility at a preferred time or date
- Refrain from close contact with residents
- Visit with loved ones in a separated clean room near the entrance
- Use hand sanitizer and other disinfectants
Complying with new visitation protocols could save a life. Remember, even if you’re in good health, prevention isn’t just about preventing your exposure…it’s also about preventing someone else’s.
We’re Here for You and Your Family
Neglecting to take recommended action to protect nursing home residents could be viewed as negligent behavior.
At Boller & Vaughan, we’re dedicated to protecting the rights of nursing home patients and ending nursing home neglect/abuse in Wisconsin.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve, please know that our legal team is here for you and your family, and from the safety and comfort of your home, if you need us, you can reach us 24/7 via email and phone.
If you or someone you care about has safety concerns about a nursing home, assisting living facility, or other long-term care center, contact us immediately for a free case evaluation at 608-268-0268 or contact our team online.