The good news in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is that scores of nursing home residents were among the first in the country to receive does of the COVID-19 vaccine. The bad news? A lack of safety protocols and resistance among nursing home staff members to also get vaccinated is still putting lives at risk.

 

new outbreak of the deadly virus has been discovered at a Kentucky nursing home, brought into the facility by, of all people, a staff member that was unvaccinated. This new and most recent outbreak of the illness impacted 26 nursing home residents and 20 health care providers. Two unvaccinated residents passed away from the disease.

 

The positive side of this story is that those who received the vaccine largely remained symptom-free and did not require hospitalization. It is further evidence that the vaccine works. However, the darker side of the story is that those in charge of caring for the vulnerable, health care personnel, have been slow to protect themselves. In essence, that means they’re slow to protect their patients as well: the nursing home residents they care for.

 

At this particular Kentucky nursing home, 90 percent of the residents have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Of the 116 employees working at the facility, only half had been vaccinated as of March 2021.

 

Vaccinated workers and residents of the Kentucky nursing home were far less likely to be infected or to develop symptoms of the disease, and yet, nursing home staff members have been resistant to getting the vaccination. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Kentucky’s public health department have spoken out, urging workers to get the vaccine to protect themselves and the people they work with on a daily basis. Not all residents may be able to get the vaccine. That means they rely on caregivers and those around them to get vaccinated to keep them safe.

 

Both avoiding the vaccine and not adhering to personal protection protocols are putting Kentucky nursing home residents at risk. In fact, even before the pandemic, nursing homes had a bad track record of following basic infection control protocols, racking up violations for a lack of handwashing, and not properly sanitizing equipment, among other things.

 

When a family makes the decision to allow a nursing home to take care of their loved one, they have reason to believe that basic sanitation and hygiene practices will be adhered to. Yet, that hasn’t always been the case. If you can’t count on a caregiver to wash their hands or get a vaccine to keep your loved safe and disease-free, what else is going on behind the scenes?

 

While these things are not always indicative of an abusive situation, they can be early warning signs and should be monitored closely. These may be hints that the staff is overworked, the facility is understaffed, caregivers are improperly trained or supervised, or they lack basic compassion and empathy for the people they care for. Some classic symptoms can signal abusive situations for elderly residents.

 

If you are concerned for the safety and care of your loved one and have reason to believe they are being abused, contact the team at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP. We take your suspicions seriously and will review your situation, investigate your claims, and help hold the negligent nursing home or caregiver accountable for their actions.

 

For a free consultation, call us today at (859) 550-2900. Don’t wait another day to get your family member the help they deserve.