Are COVID Infections a Sign of MN Nursing Home Abuse?

One of the most troubling aspects of the COVID-19 crisis has been the stories coming out about nursing home abuse happening in cities throughout the United States.

Everything from physical abuse of patients to residents diagnosed with the virus being housed with those who are virus-free has shocked the nation. These stories are not just horrifying, though — in many cases they also constitute nursing home abuse, and if your loved one is affected, you may be able to fight to help them receive fair and just compensation.

In this post, we’re going to cover some facts about COVID-19 and how the virus can be particularly harmful to elderly patients — especially those housed together in long term care facilities like nursing homes. Then we’ll cover at what point the treatment of these elderly residents becomes nursing home abuse.

How Is the Coronavirus Affecting Nursing Home Residents in Minnesota?

According to recent statistics, nursing home residents and workers account for over 35 percent of deaths due to the COVID-19 virus. This is an extremely large proportion of deaths when you take into consideration the fact that this same population represents only 11 percent of total COVID-19 cases.

The above numbers are representative of patients and residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. These are not representative of the number of cases and deaths in the overall elderly population.

The question then becomes: why are so many residents at nursing homes and long term care facilities dying of COVID-19 despite being less than 12 percent of overall cases?

The answer to this seems to be a lack of preparation in many nursing homes for a viral outbreak such as COVID-19. This is not only dangerous and bad policy, but in direct conflict with the law. Quite simply, nursing homes are required to be prepared for and have policies in place to handle viral outbreaks and similar issues within their facilities.

For many nursing homes, however, the facilities were not capable of handling large numbers of infected patients. Even worse, the staff lacked the proper equipment to help prevent the spread of the virus and, in many cases, may have become the vectors for transmitting the virus from patient to patient.

What Is Minnesota Elderly Abuse and When Does It Occur?

Nursing home abuse can involve a wide range of actions, including physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, and negligence. In the case of the COVID-19 virus, most of what is being seen is negligence.

This is primarily occurring due to a number of factors, including:

  • Failing to restrict visitation of outside visitors
  • Lack of proper safety equipment
  • Failure to isolate residents who test positive for the virus
  • Staff continue to work after becoming sick with the virus
  • Lack of proper planning and procedures for taking care of residents diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus

Duluth Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

As mentioned above, all long -term care facilities — including nursing homes — are required by law to have plans in place to deal with situations such as the COVID-19 virus. This includes having the correct equipment such as masks, gloves, and sanitizer for staff and residents. Staff are also required to be trained in proper preventative measures for viral outbreaks.

If you have a loved one who is currently in a nursing home and has been diagnosed with COVID-19, this may qualify as nursing home abuse. Especially in the event that they pass on due to the virus.

To have the best chance of holding the responsible parties accountable, it is essential that you properly document the circumstances surrounding their contraction of the virus. You should be asking questions such as how the patients at the facility are being treated when diagnosed with the virus, what procedures were in place, and how closely they were followed.


About the Author:

A former Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial District in Duluth and former staff attorney for the Indian Legal Assistance Program, Brent R. Olson is an experienced trial lawyer who has appeared in every Courthouse in the Sixth Judicial District and taken over three dozen cases to verdict. At LaCourse, Poole & Envall, Mr. Envall focuses on family law, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense. He has a strong belief in restorative justice and helped to develop the Domestic Violence Restorative Circles program.