This small New Jersey town has been hit particularly hard by the novel coronavirus. Early April, officials received an anonymous tip about a body that was stored in a shed on nursing home property. When they arrived, the scene was far worse than they imagined. Police not only discovered the body in the shed outside of the nursing home but 17 additional bodies inside the nursing home. The nursing home, one of the largest in New Jersey, had a small morgue onsite that could house four bodies. However, there were 17 bodies piled inside the work, showcasing just how overwhelmed staff were with deaths from the coronavirus.
In addition to these bodies, officials believe at least 68 other deaths at Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center I and II in New Jersey may be linked to the virus. Two nurses and 26 of the deceased residents tested positive for COVID-19. According to The New York Times, 76 patients who remain at the nursing home have tested positive for the virus as well as 41 staff members. The New York region has been particularly ravaged by the virus, with staff struggling to keep up with the growing number of cases. Thousands of nursing home residents have died from the coronavirus as facilities struggle with staff shortages, lack of personal protective gear, and poor guidance.
At Wormington & Bollinger, we are keeping a watchful eye on the pandemic and doing our part to stay safe and ensure our clients do the same. We understand the immediate and long-term impact of the virus and continue to offer our services, answering all your questions. If your or a loved one has been affected by the coronavirus and you believe you have a case for nursing home abuse, please contact our McKinney law firm.
Why Long-Term Care Facilities Are High-Risk
Sadly, our nation’s long-term care facilities have become a breeding ground for the virus, affecting both residents and staff. Andover Subacute Rehabilitation has more than 700 beds and is New Jersey’s largest licensed nursing home, raising concerns over the risk of continued spread. According to a recent report, Andover was struggling well before the pandemic settled in. They received a “much below average” rating for staffing levels, patient care, and inspections. The onset of the virus only brought these shortcomings to light, as we saw with the morbid discovery of bodies found in the small morgue.
But Andover isn’t the only long-term care facility in this situation. Sapphire Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing of Central Queens in New York has seen at least 29 deaths from the virus, with the actual death toll presumed to be much higher. Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 at a nursing home facility in Kirkland, Washington, at the end of February, these facilities have been hard hit, to say the least. There are many reasons why nursing home residents and their staff are feeling the brunt of the virus spread, including the fact that there is not enough PPE, and staff is in close contact with elderly, sick patients.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
For those of us familiar with the rise of nursing home abuse cases in the United States, the news of the virus targeting long-term care facilities comes as no surprise. We have long reported on the inadequacy of many nursing homes and the shocking statistics surrounding abuse and mistreatment at these facilities. As a refresher, here are a few facts about nursing home abuse in the United States:
- More than 5 million elders are abused every year in America
- 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced abuse
- Just 1 in 14 incidents of nursing home abuse are reported
- Elder abuse includes physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse
- Older women are more likely to experience abuse than men
- By the year 2060, more than 95 million Americans will be 65 or older
- In 2017, there were 1.2 million elders in nursing homes. This number is estimated to be closer to 2 million by 2030
What are the signs of elder abuse?
Signs of elder abuse include:
- Physical injuries like bruises, cuts, or broken bones
- Unexplained weight loss
- Poor hygiene
- Anxiety, depression, or confusion
- Change in behavior
Nursing home abuse comes in many different shapes and forms. Right now, our older population is at an increased risk because of the coronavirus. If your loved one was mistreated at a long-term care facility here in Texas, or if you suspect the nursing home of abuse or neglect, please contact Wormington & Bollinger. Our experienced McKinney nursing home abuse lawyers are here to answer your questions and ensure justice is served. We understand how traumatic it is to learn your loved one didn’t receive the care and attention they deserve. And we are here to help.
How Long-Term Care Facilities Can Prepare for COVID-19
The following are guidelines set in place by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) regarding how long-term care facilities can prepare for COVID-19:
- Educate residents, staff, and visitors about COVID-19
- Provide information on the signs and symptoms of the virus
- Provide information for managing stress and anxiety related to the virus
- Continue to educate and train healthcare providers
- Prevent sick workers from entering the facility
- Implement sick leave policies that allow healthcare personnel to stay home
- The virus spreads from person-to-person by adhering to the following guidelines, you can slow the spread:
- Cleaning your hands often
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Where a mask and other protective gear when caring for sick individuals
- Stay home as much as possible
- Maintain a 6-foot distance between yourself and others
- Frequently clean and disinfect all surfaces
We are keeping an eye on the spread of the coronavirus in our community and will continue to update you. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how our lawyers may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Wormington & Bollinger.