Despite the concerning rate of COVID-19 (coronavirus) deaths, a recent news report indicates that officials are refusing to provide the public with a comprehensive and accurate list of Maryland nursing homes and long-term facilities where outbreaks have been confirmed. Many nursing home administrators, staff, and residents at these facilities remain in the dark about the presence of the infection at their facilities. Maryland Department of Health officials advised investigators and reporters that public disclosure was up to the local health department. However, many local health departments declined to release the names of affected facilities, reasoning that they need authorization from the state to share the information. This lack of transparency has added to the public’s fear and confusion about how to protect themselves and their loved ones. Maryland nursing homes that fail to engage in appropriate disease prevention practices and do not provide the public with crucial health and safety information may be liable for the spread of disease at their facilities.
Maryland nursing homes and long-term care facilities must limit the spread of disease and infection by taking precautions and acting quickly when an outbreak emerges. It is especially important because nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides these facilities with guidance on how to keep COVID-19 from entering their facilities, identifying infections, preventing the spread of COVID-19, accessing personal protective equipment, and managing severe illnesses.
The guidelines make it clear that one of the most critical components of disease control is providing residents and staff with information about the disease. Staff and residents should receive education and training about signs, symptoms, and potential outbreaks. Further, residents and families should have information about what the facility is doing to protect their loved ones. Some common ways to limit the spread of disease are restricting visitors, reinforcing adherence to infection prevention, and implementing non-punitive, flexible sick policies for staff. These Maryland facilities must act swiftly to implement all of these recommendations before cases are identified at their locations. Maryland nursing homes that fail to engage in these safe practices and refuse to provide this crucial information may leave their residents and staff vulnerable to exposure and severe illness.
In response to the lack of transparency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently issued a directive that could result in regulations requiring long-term care facilities to notify residents and loved ones of infections in their facilities. Although, many of these facilities are operating on the assumption that an outbreak is inevitable, it is important that take all necessary steps to limit the amount of harm that occurs.
Has Your Loved One Suffered Injuries or Neglect at Maryland Nursing Home?
If you or someone you know has suffered abuse or neglect at a Maryland long-term care facility, assisted living facility, or nursing home, you should contact the injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers. The attorneys at our office have decades of experience successfully representing and recovering compensation on behalf of Maryland nursing home abuse victims. We have a long history of providing our clients with compassionate and diligent representation in their lawsuits against negligent parties. Our attorneys and staff are continuing to represent clients during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Contact our office for a phone, email, or video chat at 800-654-1949 to schedule your free initial consultation with a Maryland personal injury attorney.