Given the communal atmosphere and nature of nursing homes, as well as the resident population it serves, (e.g. elderly persons with underlying issues) nursing home residents are at the highest risk for COVID-19. With that being said, nursing home employees are also put at a higher risk. Combative efforts regarding visitor restrictions and sick leave policies for ill healthcare providers have been put in place to protect the vulnerable home population. The CDC recommends actively checking every person entering a facility for fever and other sick-like symptoms.
Nursing home negligence can occur in different forms. One form that has been occurring throughout the coronavirus pandemic applies to the staff when the owners and management of nursing homes do not communicate, do not follow proper safety procedures, and do not provide personal protection equipment (PPE).
The nursing home industry group says they are facing a severe shortage of staffing, funds, and personal protective equipment like masks and gowns. The Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Worcester, MA is one of the many nursing homes that has reported several COVID-19 cases. The president of the facility spoke out about the nursing home not having enough supplies including PPE for employees. As a result, several healthy residents are being relocated to a different nursing home in Northbridge, MA.
On another note, a nurse from Life Care Center of Nashoba Valley spoke out about the unsafe working conditions within the facility – which has been accused of negligence throughout the pandemic. Unfortunately, the 59-year-old, Maria Krier, has passed away from coronavirus. One of the topics she was vocal about was the fact that the management team had little to none experience with infectious disease, which added to the spread of the virus. Sadly, almost half of the staff that work within the facility are out sick.
Krier is being remembered as a hero for speaking out and showing courage when she “blew the whistle” on the outbreak at the facility. Littleton officials have accused the facility of failing to cooperate with health agents.
Governor Charlie Baker has spoken out adding, “we are intensely focused on mitigating the spread of the illness in our senior living facilities” (Creamer, Moran, 2020). The Governor also announced that Massachusetts would be offering long-term care facilities with $130 million for additional funding. This amount will also go towards increasing staff wages.