Coronavirus Outbreaks at Nursing Homes in the Kansas City Area
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the Kansas City metro area have experienced severe COVID-19 outbreaks. Thousands of individuals live in hundreds of senior living facilities throughout Johnson County and Wyandotte County. The higher than average number of coronavirus cases and COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes begs the question of whether nursing homes and regulatory agencies are doing enough to protect the vulnerable residents who live in these facilities.
According to news reports and information available online from Johnson County and Wyandotte County, Kansas, the number of nursing home deaths from COVID-19 continues to increase. COVID-19 nursing home deaths account for 73 percent of the coronavirus deaths in Johnson County, Kansas. Roughly 63 percent of the coronavirus deaths in Wyandotte County, Kansas are from three outbreaks at nursing homes in that county.
Why Are Nursing Home Residents At a Higher Risk for Coronavirus Infection?
Risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of death from COVID-19 include being 65 years of age or older, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, heart conditions, and chronic lung disease. Many people in nursing homes have underlying health risks that increase their chance of contracting and dying from the coronavirus.
Also, the close contact between patients and staff members in a nursing home makes it possible for COVID-19 to spread quickly throughout the facility. Many individuals with COVID-19 do not show symptoms for several days or weeks. Even though they may not have coronavirus symptoms, infected individuals in nursing homes can spread the disease through contact, coughing, or sneezing, which can cause a serious outbreak in a matter of days.
How Can Nursing Homes Prevent The Spread of COVID-19?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) addressed COVID-19 concerns in nursing homes quickly. CMS provided guidance for nursing homes to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Nursing homes were advised to:
- Facilities should restrict visitation of all visitors;
- Cancel group activities and communal dining.
- Implement active screening for staff and residents.
- Continue to practice social distancing and remind residents of social distancing guidelines.
- Facilities should review and revise policies for contact with vendors, suppliers, and other necessary visitors to the facility.
- Promote the use of hand hygiene, PPE, and other preventative measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
- Facilities should encourage alternate forms of communication by residents with relatives and friends.
In addition to the measures recommended by the CMS, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has issued guidelines and reporting requirements for long-term care facilities, as well as providing updated disease information to help facilities battle the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
When Should I Call a Kansas City Nursing Home Attorney for Help?
Nursing homes continue to have a duty to provide adequate care during the COVID-19 outbreak. The facilities are required to meet each resident’s needs and comply with all federal and state regulations for nursing homes. The duty of care includes taking all reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also includes transferring patients to the hospital when the need arises.
Unfortunately, some nursing homes may not be doing everything necessary to provide adequate care. A facility may not monitor patients closely enough for coronavirus symptoms. Staff members may not act timely to acquire a higher level of care for residents whose symptoms become more severe. Some facilities may not be following the guidelines provided by the CDC, CMS, and KDHE. Because of negligence or errors, residents may contract coronavirus and die.
If your loved one is in a nursing home, you may feel helpless. You are not permitted to visit, and it can be difficult or impossible to obtain information about the condition of your loved one or the steps the nursing home is taking to protect your love done. However, you are not helpless.
You can contact a Kansas City nursing home attorney for help. COVID-19 is a serious problem for nursing home residents. A lawyer can help you take legal steps to demand information from the nursing home about its COVID-19 policies and procedures. Your attorney can also take steps to obtain information about your loved one’s physical and emotional health, including whether your loved one has been showing symptoms of the coronavirus or been diagnosed with the virus.
Call Our Kansas City Nursing Home Attorney for Help
If you suspect that a nursing home has been negligent in the care of your loved one during the COVID-19 outbreak, contact The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus to speak with an attorney. We want to help you get answers and ensure the safety of your loved one. If your family member has been injured or died as a result of nursing home negligence or wrongdoing, we want to help you hold the facility and staff members responsible for their actions.
Call 816-203-0143 for a free consultation with a Kansas City nursing home injury lawyer.