Covid-19, better known as the coronavirus, is holding the United States hostage at the moment as we are unable to eat at restaurants, attend sporting events, or even socialize with family. The pandemic is stretching into another month as we set to enter April and the number of cases and deaths continue to rise.
For nursing home residents, this a particularly dangerous situation.
According to the CDC, the following are considered to be at a higher risk for severe illness as a result of the coronavirus:
- People aged 65 years and older;
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; and
- People with serious underlying medical conditions
Considering that 90% of nursing home residents are over the age of 65, according to the AARP, and practically all nursing home residents have some type of underlying medical condition, nursing home residents sadly check all three boxes.
As a result, they are the most vulnerable in society when it comes to the coronavirus.
Statistics suggest that a nursing home resident is unable to sustain and recover from the coronavirus because they are generally elderly individuals suffering from underlying medical conditions as a result of their advanced age.
In other words, they are members of all three high risk groups and simply cannot fight the illness. A key reason why they cannot fight the virus is because the immune system tends to decline as we age, which renders the elderly individuals more susceptible to the coronavirus.
Moreover, the coronavirus affects and attacks the lungs, which can be particularly dangerous to elderly individuals who may not have the same lung capacity as they did when they were younger. “As you get older, your lungs are not as elastic or as resilient as when you’re younger.
Those kinds of things, coupled with any kind of health issue you might have, trend toward this loss of airway function and respiratory function.”
More problematic to the nursing home resident is the growing rates of infection. Coronavirus is a highly contagious disease, and government officials agree that social distancing measures are imperative at preventing the spread of the contagion.
Nursing homes and long-care facilities are especially dangerous due to a higher concentration of elderly individuals within confined spaces.
Sadly, according to Mark Parkinson, the President and CEO of the American Health Organization, Covid-19 is the “almost perfect killing machine” for the elderly.
While we hope that the coronavirus pandemic will abate as soon as possible, it is absolutely imperative that families who may have a loved one in a nursing home take appropriate steps to ensure that their loved ones are being protected during the coronavirus pandemic.
These measures include contacting your loved one by telephone or other non face-to-face means to ensure they are healthy and feeling well, and contacting the facility administrators or staff by telephone to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to guard against exposure to coronavirus if warranted.
If you are not satisfied with the facility’s response, you can contact the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. You can also seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.
The attorneys at Macaluso Law Firm, LLC have years of experience assisting and helping residents and their families in protecting their rights. Contact them today to schedule a completely free consultation if you or someone you know is concerned with the response a nursing home, assisted living, or residential facility is taking to the coronavirus.