In light of the emergence of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, Maryland nursing homes should take steps to prevent and reduce the likelihood of transmission amongst staff and residents. While people hoped that nursing homes and assisted living facilities have honed their strategies to keep the spread in check, the reality is that many of these facilities fail to engage in a flexible and adaptive approach to virus prevention. Some approach Maryland nursing homes can take include:
- Encourage vaccination;
- Consider local transmission rates in decision-making processes;
- Reduce exposure;
- Improve ventilation,
- Encourage testing;
- Communicate exposures;
- Support mental health care; and
- Stay apprised of new interventions.
Although vaccinations remain the most effective way to prevent serious COVID-19 illness, all of these methods are critical to nursing home resident safety. Nursing homes can use behavioral economics techniques to help staff and residents abide by social distancing. For example, they may spread out visitors’ chairs and provide floor markers that indicate appropriate distance. Further, nursing homes can add more filtration systems to improve ventilation and air handling. Additionally, Maryland nursing homes should thoroughly evaluate when to require or recommend masks.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) commitment to protecting nursing home residents require nursing homes to report staff and resident vaccinations. According to CMS data, 86.7 percent of nursing home residents and 75.1 percent of staff are vaccinated against COVID-19. Moreover, nearly 731,000 nursing home residents and 682,282 staff have contracted COVID-19. Of these, there have been 140,563 resident deaths and 2,157 staff deaths.
Can Maryland nursing homes be held accountable for the spread of COVID-19
While Maryland nursing homes maintain an unclear level of immunity from lawsuits related to COVID-19, many situations may result in nursing homes being held responsible for the spread of COVID-19. Many of these instances stem from nursing homes deviating from CMS protocols. CMS maintains that nursing homes must engage in infection control and test residents and facility staff for COVID-19. CMS guidelines provide various ways that nursing homes can meet the testing requirements. Some methods include using rapid diagnostic testing devices or testing through off-site laboratories.
Moreover, CMS requires that facilities conducting tests have the proper testing certifications, report the results of all tests to the health department, and maintain documentation of all testing. CMS will assess compliance by using COVID-19 focused surveys. Nursing homes that do not abide by these regulations may face liability for the results of their negligence.
Have You Experienced Maryland Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
If you or someone you love has experienced nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Maryland nursing home neglect lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen. The accident attorneys on our team have recovered over $65 million for our clients. We handle Maryland injury cases stemming from nursing home abuse and neglect, premises liability, products liability, auto accidents, and more. Our dedicated and diligent attorneys keep up-to-date on all relevant state and federal laws and regulations that may impact our clients’ cases. We have secured significant amounts of compensation for our clients’ injuries, including damages for medical expenses, ongoing treatment, lost wages, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.