Whether you have an elderly loved one at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in San Bernardino County or somewhere nearby in Southern California, we know that you are likely watching the news about the spread of the coronavirus carefully. Given that nursing homes are filled with older adults who suffer from a variety of health conditions, including many with compromised immune systems, residents of these facilities are at a particularly high risk of a severe case of COVID-19 and at a significantly higher risk of death than the rest of the population. News reports indicating that dozens, and sometimes more, residents of nursing homes across the country are dying of COVID-19 have served as a call to action when it comes to making nursing homes safer.
A recent article from Kaiser Health News reports that many of the “COVID-plagued” facilities in California have histories of safety problems and violations. In other words, these facilities should have been targeted much sooner, in which case some coronavirus deaths may have been prevented.
California Nursing Homes with Past Problems
In March, California nursing homes closed to visitors in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus through the facilities. Yet as of April 28, a total of 198 nursing homes in the state reported that at least one resident had tested positive for COVID-19. In some facilities, dozens more were infected and some died as a result of the virus. At the Rehabilitation Center of Santa Monica, 12 employees contracted COVID-19 and a total of 24 patients were infected as of late April, making it one of the largest nursing home outbreaks in the state, and in Los Angeles County. This nursing home, like many others in the state, had a history of patient safety problems. According to Kaiser Health News, “historically, it has had lower-than average staffing levels and a record of not always following basic staffing and infection control rules.”
Many other facilities in the state with COVID-19 outbreaks have similar histories. Indeed, the average overall star rating of California nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks is a 2.8, with an average health inspection star rating of 2.2. To put those numbers another way, the facilities, on average, are far below average. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of the facilities in California with a coronavirus outbreak have been fined at least once by the federal government for a safety violation. Further, Kaiser Health News reports that 91% of all California nursing homes with at least one COVID-19 infection had a previous health violation “for not following infection control rules.”
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in San Bernardino County
If you have concerns about an elderly loved one in a San Bernardino County nursing home or elsewhere in California, you may have options. Nursing homes have certain legal duties to their residents, and when they breach those duties and a patient suffers from a COVID-19 infection as a result, the facility may be liable. An experienced San Bernardino County nursing home abuse attorney can speak with you today about your case. Contact the Walton Law Firm for more information about filing a claim.