As we approach two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s easy to forget that the first wave of the pandemic struck nursing homes and long-term care facilities extremely hard. The risk factors for severe cases of Covid-19 correspond with the nature of the nursing home industry. Elderly, disabled, and often immunocompromised individuals are housed together in confined areas, while undertrained and underpaid employees often commute from other areas to care for the residents.
Although the nature of nursing home care helps explain why the pandemic hit nursing homes so hard, this explanation is not always enough to justify some of the negligent care that nursing home residents have endured throughout the pandemic. A recently published news report discussing a nursing home that continues to operate after having 83 residents die from covid in the last two years suggests that some nursing homes are violating a duty of care to their patients by failing to protect them from infection.
According to the local news report, the nursing home in question, located in New Jersey, was subject to complaints from residents and family even before the pandemic. Family members of former residents allege that the conditions in 2019 were unhygienic and that the employees were improperly trained to care for the residents. Once the pandemic hit, the consequences of improper care were exacerbated, as family members of former residents claim that the administration of the home was inaccessible to loved ones and that sick and healthy people were commingled, encouraging infections to spread. At the time the article was published, 83 residents of the nursing home had died from Covid-19, and another 25 residents were currently sick with the virus.