Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence

Earlier this year, the coronavirus pandemic took the country by storm, quickly spreading from what was just a few select cities to every state in the nation. One of the first clusters of COVID-19 cases was in a Washington state nursing home, where at least 37 residents died as a result of the virus. Indeed, among those most at risk for developing serious and potentially fatal coronavirus symptoms are those living in Virginia nursing homes. Currently, several states have banned friends and family members from visiting loved ones in nursing homes in an attempt to stop – or at least – slow the spread of COVID-19.

However, at a time when one may think that nursing home regulations would be getting stricter, the opposite seems to be the case. According to a recent news report by the New York Times, the current administration has been working to relax the regulations that control the country’s nursing homes. Shockingly, this even includes measures designed to combat the spread of deadly infections between residents.

Last July, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a plan that would, among other things, relieve nursing homes from complying with an Obama-era rule requiring facilities to employ at least one specialist with knowledge of preventing infections. Under the proposed rule, facilities would no longer need even a part-time infection disease specialist, and instead would require such a specialist to spend “sufficient time at the facility.”

When a family entrusts a Virginia nursing home with the care of their loved one, the family rightfully expects the nursing home to engage in the proper care and treatment of their family member. Nursing homes and their employees owe their residents a duty of care to ensure their safety and well-being. In cases where a nursing home places a resident in danger or causes them harm, the resident or their family members may file a Virginia personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the facility.

Virginia takes nursing home abuse very seriously, and the legislature has enacted several laws specifically directed to protect nursing home residents. Additionally, nursing homes and their employees owe their residents a common-law duty to protect them from abuse. Protecting residents involves engaging in a vigorous hiring and training process. Included in this are extensive background checks and continuous reviews of their employees’ practices. When a nursing home fails to take these necessary steps, residents are often put in jeopardy.

Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect because they often lack some of their mental and physical faculties. For example, they may not be able to articulate or even remember the cause of their injuries. Some common types of abuse are physical, mental, sexual, and financial abuse. In these cases, the employee who engaged in abusive behavior may be held liable. Additionally, the nursing home may also be responsible based on the theory of vicarious liability or respondeat superior.

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