COVID-19: PROTECTING RESIDENTS FROM THE CORONAVIRUS
Residents of assisted living facilities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Every facility must implement and follow the rules to protect the elderly. Assisted living facilities are liable for the failure to enact and comply with safety rules resulting in severe harm and death to the residents.
The virus spreads from person to person in close contact with each other. The primary source of the spread is droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The virus remains alive on hard surfaces, and infection occurs when a person touches the surface and then gets the disease through their mouth, nose, or eyes.
An assisted living facility is an ideal place for the virus to spread if proper rules are not in place.
RESPONSIBILITY OF ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES
The rules that a facility must follow stem from California law that provides that an assisted living facility must never neglect an elderly resident. Neglect means failing to assist in personal hygiene and failing to protect from health hazards, such as viruses.
RULES TO PROTECT THE ELDERLY
An essential practice is that every caregiver should be trained and prepared in the following subjects:
- Coughing and respiratory precautions
- Hand hygiene
- The use of personal protective equipment
- Social distancing
- Visitation policies
- Testing policies
- Quarantine policies
- Disinfecting the facility
Facilities should have the best hand hygiene practices, including making sure their caregivers:
- Wash their hands for at least 20 seconds
- Practice washing their hands before and after seeing a resident. Frequent washing by caregivers is vital to minimize the transmission of the virus.
- Posting signs reminding caregivers and visitors of these practices.
Each facility should implement the best respiratory practices, which means instructing residents, visitors, and staff to do the following:
- Practice covering their nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing
- Discard used tissues
- Immediately wash hands after a sneeze or cough
The best practices also include making sure each caregiver is given proper protective equipment, including:
- Hand sanitizer
Best practices for facilities mean they should enforce social distancing within the building, which means:
- Making sure every person in a facility keeps a distance of at least six feet from others unless caring for a resident
- Restricting visitations by non-essential personnel
- Screening all staff and visitors for signs and symptoms of infection, such as temperature screening
- Having a sick leave policy that does not punish workers who are sick
A facility should have the best practices regarding sanitation, including:
- Ensuring that hand sanitizers are readily available for staff and residents
- Sanitizing surfaces regularly
Most importantly, a facility must be diligent in monitoring the residents, including the following:
- Monitoring each resident regularly, including temperature taking
- All residents showing signs and symptoms of the virus should be isolated so as not to infect others
- All residents showing signs and symptoms should be sent to the hospital for testing
- The facility should notify the appropriate local health authority for guidance and instruction to prevent a widespread outbreak.
Many assisted living facilities put profit over the well-being of their residents. As a result, they cut corners. They do not implement the practices and policies discussed above. As a result, residents are exposed to COVID-19 and become infected, suffer, and even die, because of the neglect of the facilities.
If your loved one has contracted COVID-19 at an assisted living facility resulting in suffering or death, schedule a free consultation. No pressure, just advice.