How to Protect Yourself or Loved Ones from Coronavirus in Long Term Care Facilities

Coronavirus Nursing Home

Coronavirus and Long Term Care Facilities, Assisted Living and/or Nursing Homes

At the office of Joseph L. Motta, LPA in Avon Lake, we specialize in offering our expertise in long term care planning and estate planning so we know that as the coronavirus spreads across our country, long term care residents are among the most vulnerable.  We also have many relationships with local long term care facilities in Avon, Avon Lake, Westlake, Sheffield Lake, N. Ridgeville and others we frequently visit for information seminars so we know that whether you're a resident, or have a family member that is a resident, you care how to ensure that your loved one stays healthy?

Vetting a Long Term Care Facility

The first thing you can do is research the nursing home. While you likely made inquiries before you or your parents/grandparents moved in, you may have over-looked the specifics about their policies for preventing infection - considering respiratory illness with this level of contagion were likely not in the front of your mind.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a factsheet that covers key questions to ask nursing home officials about their infection prevention policies, including:

  • How does the facility communicate with family when an outbreak occurs?
  • Are sick staff members allowed to go home without losing pay or time off?
  • How are staff trained on hygiene?
  • Are there private rooms for residents who develop symptoms?
  • How is shared equipment cleaned?

You can also check on staffing levels. Facilities that are understaffed may have workers who are rushing and not practicing good hand-washing. There are no federal minimum staffing levels for nurses aides, who provide the most day-to-day care, but the federal government recommends a daily minimum standard of 4.1 hours of total nursing time per patient.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the CDC have issued guidance to nursing homes and long term care facilities to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including restricting all visitors except in end-of-life situations. You should follow the rules of the facility. If the facility is not allowing visitors, do not try to break the rules.

You should check with the facility to make sure it is following the guidance from CMS and the CDC, which includes recommendations to do the following:
•    Restrict all visitors, with exceptions for compassionate care
•    Restrict all volunteers and nonessential health care personnel
•    Cancel all group activities and communal dining
•    Begin screening residents and health care personnel for fever and respiratory symptoms
•    Put hand sanitizer in every room and common area
•    Make facemasks available to people who are coughing
•    Have hospital-grade disinfectants available

To read the detailed guidance from the CDC, click here.

Elder Law and Long Term Care Planning Attorney in Avon Lake

At Joseph L. Motta, elder law and estate planning firm in Avon Lake, OH, we know the coronavirus pandemic has caused a substantial uncertainty and questions regarding your estate planning. We also know with uncertainty comes stress - so please, avoid taking on any addtional stress during these times and call the experts. We specialize in staying up-to-date on Congressional bills, legislative proposals, provisions and other changes that could impact your estate planning, special needs planning and long term care needs. We continuously put our expertise to work to provide you with the best advice. Call 440-930-2826 to schedule a free consultation .