Nursing homes in San Bernardino County and throughout the state of California have a duty to patients when it comes to infection-control measures and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Yet many facilities have not provided the type of protection that is necessary for seniors, resulting in serious and deadly COVID-19 infections. When a nursing home fails to provide the type of protection to seniors that is necessary to avoid infection with a deadly virus, the nursing home may be liable for negligence. According to a recent report in Becker’s Hospital Review, hospitals and nursing homes across California are facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for “lax coronavirus protection.”
Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
One of the most important infection-control measures for nursing homes is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff. PPE helps to prevent nursing home staff members from contracting the virus in a nursing home, but also from spreading it to patients within the facility. According to the article, the California Occupational Safety and Health division is currently proposing more than $77,000 in fines for five skilled nursing facilities and hospitals in the state for failing to provide adequate PPE.
While California’s Occupational Safety and Health division focuses on employee or worker safety, it is important to underscore that a lack of PPE for nursing home workers also means that any staff who were positive for COVID-19 and did not have sufficient PPE also risked spreading the virus to older adults in the facility who may have been more vulnerable to severe infection.
Abuse and Neglect Under California Law
California law prohibits elder abuse under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (EADACPA). Under the EADACPA, elder abuse can include “physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering.” In addition, elder abuse can include the passive “deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.” To be clear, passive neglect can constitute elder abuse under the EADACPA, offering older adults and families a potential option for filing a claim when a COVID-19 infection resulted from a lack of care.
Beyond a claim under the EADACPA, a senior in a California nursing home also may be eligible to file a personal injury claim on the basis of negligence. Nursing homes owe a duty of care to patients, and when they breach that duty of care, they can be held accountable through civil lawsuits. You should speak with an experienced San Bernardino County elder abuse lawyer about the particular facts of your case in order to determine whether it makes sense to file a personal injury lawsuit or to file a claim under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in San Bernardino County
Patients in nursing homes should be able to count on the facility to provide proper care and to institute infection-control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you were harmed by a nursing home’s failure to provide care, you may be able to file a nursing home neglect claim. One of the experienced and compassionate San Bernardino nursing home abuse attorneys at our firm can discuss your options with you. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist you.
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