Many nursing home residents that did not get COVID-19 are also suffering the consequences of the virus. Patient neglect complaints have risen alarmingly in the wake of the pandemic. While COVID-19 is seen as the major threat to residents of long-term care facilities, the mounting evidence of patient neglect in facilities across the United States raises awareness of a new crisis.
Neglect of care
Inquiries have found that because of the large amount of care that patients with the virus need, the staffing deficits at many facilities result in the neglect of even the most basic points of care. This includes care tasks such as re-positioning, toileting and feeding, becoming neglected. The situation worsens if there is inadequate facility management. The inability of families to visit their loved ones in person reduces the chances that neglect is caught in time. The result is that many residents are unnecessarily suffering and dying from preventable conditions and injuries such as dehydration and bedsores.
The complications of COVID-19 Immunity
While many families seek justice for their loved ones’ deaths, many find a roadblock in their way; COVID-19 Immunity regulations. A majority of states now have laws or orders that provide health care facilities and providers immunity from civil liability. According to a recent article by National Public Radio WBEZ in Chicago, nursing homes with track records of poor care may be able to take advantage of the immunity regulations to avoid consequences for their neglect.
Illinois has an executive order granting immunity to health facilities and providers providing care during the international health emergency, but it does not cover instances of gross negligence and misconduct. While there is a pandemic immunity order, Illinois’ position is less severe as other states. This gives a chance for grieving families to bring legal action against mistreatment of their loved ones.