In Riverside County and throughout Southern California, nursing home residents died as a result of COVID-19 infections. For many of these residents and patients, infections and resulting deaths could have been avoided if facilities were properly staffed and if those facilities had engaged in effective and appropriate infection-control measures. However, as a recent Human Rights Watch report emphasizes, the pandemic has exposed not only the serious negligence of facilities related to controlling COVID-19 infections, but underlying problems at facilities that resulted in worse situations during the pandemic.
Myopic Focus and Lack of Visitors Led to Increased Nursing Home Neglect Injuries
One of the primary points in the report is this: During the pandemic, many nursing homes across the US had a myopic focus on preventing COVID-19 infections and improving infection-control measures, which resulted in a lack of attention elsewhere. That myopic focus, coupled with the ongoing problem of understaffing, meant that many other injuries unrelated to the coronavirus but resulting from nursing home neglect when unnoticed and untreated.
Further, the report explains that, in non-pandemic circumstances, nursing home visitors like family members and friends often are able to identify resident needs that are missed by facility employees as a result of understaffing. During the pandemic, nursing homes in California and throughout the country restricted or entirely limited any guests into nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Yet as a result of those visitor restrictions, understaffed facilities frequently failed to identify injuries, bed sores, and infections that might have been noticed by visitors, and thus treated properly.
All of this information suggests that nursing home injuries and deaths during the pandemic have increased as a result of COVID-19 infections and serious underlying understaffing problems.
Common Types of Nursing Home Neglect Injuries During the Pandemic
Nursing home neglect injuries have taken many forms during the pandemic, exposing underlying problems at so many different skilled nursing facilities. According to Human Rights Watch, nursing home neglect reports over the last year have “revealed concerns including extreme weight loss, dehydration, untreated bedsores, inadequate hygiene, mental and physical decline, and inappropriate use of psychotropic medications among nursing home residents.”
The Human Rights Watch report consistently points to the ways in which nursing homes are “chronically understaffed,” resulting in thousands of avoidable injuries among nursing home residents. California nursing home residents have rights to proper care, and the report also underscores that those rights also exist under international human rights law.” Indeed, as the report explains, “everyone, including nursing home residents, has the right to the highest attainable standard of health and to an effective remedy for violations of their rights.”
Seeking Help with a Nursing Home Neglect Case in Riverside County
If you have an elderly loved one who sustained any type of avoidable injury in a nursing home in Southern California during the pandemic, you should seek advice from our Riverside nursing home neglect lawyers about the possibility of filing a nursing home abuse claim. Contact the Walton Law Firm today for more information.
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