Articles Posted in Nursing Home Issues

COVID-19 continues to sweep through Massachusetts nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. As of May 2, 2020, there are 66,263 COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, and there have been 3,846 deaths. The rate of confirmed cases per capita is the third highest in the United States, and the death rate per capita is the fourth highest in the country.

Massachusetts state officials recently began posting a list of assisted-living facilities with two or more confirmed coronavirus cases, along with nursing homes. However, it does not include an actual number of confirmed cases, but rather a range of cases. More than half of the assisted-living facilities have at least two cases. Many have 30 or more cases.

As of May 2nd, there have been 12,574 COVID-19 cases among residents and healthcare workers of long-term care facilities. Three hundred twenty long-term care facilities have reported at least one case of COVID-19 at a facility and there have been 2,284 COVID-19 deaths reported in long-term care facilities. According to these numbers, the majority of coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts have occurred in these facilities, underscoring the extent to which they are at the center of the public health crisis in Massachusetts. There are 17,000 residents in assisted-living communities across 260 facilities in the state and about 38,000 nursing home residents. Outbreaks were reported in facilities in the Boston area, including Sunrise of Arlington, Goddard House in Brookline, and The Falls at Cordingly Dam in Newton.

Massachusetts laws provide nursing home residents with protections when residing in a nursing home or assisted living facility. These residents are entitled to appropriate medical care, a habitable environment, rights to make decisions regarding their care, daily care and attention, and freedom from abuse and neglect. Nursing home facilities that do not comply with these requirements may face liability for injuries that their residents sustain through a Massachusetts nursing home negligence lawsuit.

Despite strict rules and regulations regarding safety standards, many nursing homes barely pass inspections. Others outright engage in prohibited behaviors. Residents may not be able to articulate their injuries effectively, and loved ones must remain vigilant in spotting signs of abuse or neglect. Some common forms of nursing home abuse include:

  • Verbal abuse, such as yelling threats and derogatory comments;
  • Emotional abuse, such as withholding care;
  • Physical abuse, such as shaking, kicking, and punching;
  • Financial abuse, such as unlawfully taking control of a resident’s bank accounts; and
  • Sexual assault.

There are some less obvious signs that abuse may be occurring, such as unexplained weight fluctuations, sedation, unexplained illnesses, depression, and infections. Nursing homes must abide by federal regulations regarding the care of their patients and the condition of their facilities. If they do not, they may face criminal and civil liability.

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