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Attorney Sanga Turnbull

CMS Issues Guidance for Nursing Homes to Protect Residents from COVID-19

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2020 | Nursing Home Abuse

As the U.S. continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 10,000 in the nation, nursing homes and hospitals were urged to follow guidelines issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC, the elderly are at the greatest risk of severe illness and serious complications from COVID-19. In light of this, the CMS issued guidance for nursing home and long-term care facilities to protect the most vulnerable category of people: the older population.

CMS Issues Guidance for Nursing Homes and Hospitals Amid COVID-19

In March, the CMS provided detailed guidance to those who interact with patients in the hospice setting (nursing homes and hospitals). The federal agency amplified its existing health and safety regulations by providing actionable guidance on the screening, treatment, and transfer procedures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Healthcare workers and nursing home staff members must follow these guidelines when interacting with patients and residents to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. The CMS issued guidance specific to nursing homes to protect the most vulnerable group of people. The CDC also provided “preparedness” recommendations for nursing homes.

CMS Answers FAQs About Handling COVID-19 at Nursing Homes

In its guidance for nursing homes, the CMS provided a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the coronavirus pandemic with detailed answers. Some of the issues that were addressed in the memorandum included:

  • How the facility must monitor or limit visitors who display coronavirus symptoms;
  • How to monitor and restrict nursing home staff members with potential illness;
  • How to transfer residents who tested positive or are suspected of having COVID-19;
  • How to accept a resident who was diagnosed with coronavirus at a hospital; and
  • Whether nursing homes will be cited for not having appropriate supplies such as face masks, N95 respirators, and others.

In its new recommendations issued on April 2, 2020, the CMS directed nursing homes and long-term care facilities to use separate staffing teams for residents who test positive for COVID-19. Also, the CMS ordered facilities to work with state and local authorities to separate COVID-19 positive residents from COVID-19 negative residents and residents with unknown or pending coronavirus status.

Suing a Nursing Home for COVID-19 Infections

Failure to follow the above-mentioned recommendations and any guidelines issued by the CMS and CDC may result in a nursing home neglect claim if a resident becomes infected with coronavirus due to the facility’s lack of precautionary measures to prevent exposure.

If your parent or grandparent – a nursing home resident – contracted coronavirus at the facility, you may be able to sue the facility and recover damages. However, to do that, you will be required to prove that the nursing home failed to take all reasonable measures or was otherwise negligent, which caused your loved one to become infected.

Talk to our Lakeland nursing home neglect attorney to examine your particular situation. Contact The Turnbull Firm to receive a consultation. Call at 407-612-6464 or 863-324-3500 or fill out our contact form.