Should Las Vegas Nursing Home Residents be Worried
The disproportionately high rate of COVID-19-related infections and deaths in Las Vegas nursing homes is cause for alarm for both nursing home residents and their families. Nursing homes have a responsibility to keep their residents safe, even in times of a pandemic. Negligent care from health care providers during this time increases the risk of patients catching COVID-19 and fatalities from it that should have been prevented.
Nursing Homes Hard Hit by COVID-19
Older adults over the age of 65, and especially those with heart disease, respiratory issues, diabetes, cancer, or dementia, are most at risk of contracting COVID-19. In Nevada, 30 percent of confirmed cases where in adults over the age of 60.
Las Vegas area nursing homes have been especially hard hit with the number of positive COVID-19 cases continuing to grow. As of May 5, infection rates have risen to 10.75 percent of residents in these nursing homes. There have been 806 confirmed cases of the virus, with 59 residents succumbing to it.
Responsibilities of Nursing Homes
In April, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that nursing homes must become more transparent and provide timely information to nursing home residents and their families. New rules put into effect because of COVID-19 include:
- Alerting residents, families, or patient representatives within 12 hours of a confirmed case of the virus
- Reporting to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) within 72 hours if three or more individuals develop respiratory symptoms
- The CDC passing the information to the CMS which will make the data public
- Nursing homes that have reported infections are required to make weekly reports to the CDC on the status of COVID-19 infections in their facilities
Nursing homes that do not make their required reports to the CDC will be subject to fines up to $1,000 per week.
How is COVID-19 Spread Throughout Nursing Homes?
The CDC has issued recommendations for nursing homes and their staff to work to avoid spreading the virus proactively. It has been no secret that many nursing homes are severely understaffed, but now many are also dealing with shortages in personal protective equipment. Reusing equipment can lead to cross-contamination and the spread of COVID-19 from patient-to-patient, staff-to-patient, or patient-to-staff. Lack of training, proper infection prevention, and appropriate control measures have also worked to increase the spread of COVID-19. Failure to heed to the CDC’s recommendations could constitute negligence on behalf of the nursing home.