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Care Home Legal Battle

08/10/2022 | objavio Radio Gradačac

Restrictions on visits by long-term caregivers and family members, as well as limited inspections by evaluators and reduced data reporting requirements, have contributed to a lack of transparency about how care facilities operate during the pandemic. Nursing homes have recorded a high number of non-Covid-19 related deaths during the pandemic. Academic researchers and the Associated Press have estimated that there were at least 40,000 additional deaths between March and November alone that were not due to Covid-19. Residents, family members and nursing home staff raised concerns about significant weight loss, dehydration, untreated bedsores, inadequate hygiene and worrying changes in the prescribing of psychotropic medications. In the most extreme cases, doctors treating patients in nursing homes and death certificates that Human Rights Watch can consult suggest that these conditions may have contributed to deaths. She said they were seriously understaffed! Sometimes she has to wait an hour to go to the bathroom, and by that time she has already got dirty. Shower only once every 5 days. Confined to her room to sit silently 24/7 because she is legally blind, she can`t read, watch TV, do a puzzle or anything for entertainment. Before the pandemic, she relied on family visits every day to fill her days. The increased isolation and lack of stimulation and physical activity during this period appear to affect the physical and cognitive abilities of some residents in addition to their mental health.

Staff said the restriction and isolation in their rooms meant less physical activity for nursing home residents. “Even going to a group activity or a meal will involve a little exercise,” said one doctor who works in nursing homes, while in the absence of such activities, “there has been even more loss of physical function.” The nursing home told me that my mother did not need compassionate care, even though she had lost 20 pounds during the lockdown. She went to a bit [like] 94 pounds as a 5`8” woman. I even hired my ombudsman and lawyer for elder care and still couldn`t get compassionate care or visits. Many lawyers say this is unfair to hold a family member financially responsible. “If you take your child to a doctor, you should pay for the child`s medical care. But if your adult child takes you to a nursing home and you`re 80, the law doesn`t require you to pay those bills,” said Paul Aloi, a Rochester attorney who has represented all parties — patients, hospitals and nursing homes — in debt collection cases. Brooks would learn that she was not alone. Nursing homes in this industrial city track unpaid bills and regularly sue not only residents, but also their friends and family, according to a review of KHN court records. The practice has trapped dozens of children, grandchildren, neighbors and others, many of whom have almost no financial ties to residents or any legal responsibility for their debts.

CMS works with government agencies to monitor facilities for gaps in quality of care, quality of life, safety standards and other categories, and to respond to more immediate complaints. On March 4, 2020, cmS announced that it would end all routine examinations and only send surveyors to facilities to monitor compliance with infectious disease protocols in response to specific conditions and in “imminent danger” situations where there is a risk of serious injury, damage or death. In August, the CMS re-approved routine surveys “once [surveyors] have the resources (e.g., staff and/or PPE) to do so.” Comprehensive surveys should cover staffing levels as well as issues such as the prevalence of pressure ulcers, weight loss, depression, etc. Lawyers said the decision increased the chances that the government would face claims from families and care companies. Michelle Penn, Partner and Head of Nursing and Occupational Disease Claims at law firm BLM, said: “If nursing home operators themselves suffer bodily injury during this period, it is likely that they will seek a government contribution to cover these costs. Robinson, who lives on a steady income, signed papers for an elderly friend who was admitted to the county home, and she said she helped employees gather information to enroll her boyfriend in Medicaid. Dr. Cathy Gardner got a full hearing in her case, alleging that the government misled the public by claiming it had “thrown a protective ring” around nursing homes and that political failure “led to a large number of unnecessary deaths and serious illnesses.” Gardner`s father, Michael Gibson, was infected and died in April after a patient with the virus was discharged from the hospital at his home. Their regulations vary, but largely apply to injuries, deaths, and care decisions, sometimes even property damage.

But there are limits: most make exceptions for gross negligence and wilful misconduct, and they usually only apply in an emergency. “No one is watching what happens,” she said, adding that waivers of immunity could even complicate prosecutions for gross or deliberate negligence, as households could argue that the gaps are somehow related to the pandemic. Mark Parkinson, CEO of the American Health Care Association, said the idea of lawyers preparing for lawsuits in the midst of a fight to save the elderly is “pathetic” and ignores the hardships faced by nursing home workers. Long-standing concerns about staff – the vast majority of whom are women – include lack of health insurance, paid sick or family leave and low wages, all of which have contributed to extremely high turnover rates and a shortage of staff. The pandemic has exacerbated these problems. In addition, many workers have been exposed to the virus without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), especially at the beginning of the pandemic.

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