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Investigations and Fines at Assisted Living Facilities Due to the Handling of COVID-19

In response to 13 deaths at a Massachusetts veterans home, Governor Charlie Baker has hired Mark Pearlstein from McDermott Will & Emery LLP to investigate what went wrong and why. Tests that have been conducted so far reveal that six of the deaths at the state-run nursing home for veterans in Holyoke, MA were due to COVID-19.

Baker anticipates that the investigation being conducted will give answers to what went wrong in regards to the outbreak and how they can ensure that it does not happen again. The investigation will also be evaluating management at the facility and their response to the viral outbreak.

The coronavirus-related deaths at the veterans home have been devastating to the families of lost loved ones. Similar to the situation in Massachusetts, the coronavirus has resulted in 37 deaths at one particular nursing home in Kirkland, WA. The Life Care Center in Washington has seen 37 COVID-19 deaths.

After the first two confirmed cases among an employee and a resident, families of the residents in the nursing home expected that the facility would have been shut down in order to contain the outbreak, but they did not. One resident, Darlene Kimball, a 72-year-old grandmother of five, lost her life to COVID-19 after battling cancer for four years. Family members of Kimball said that one week she was her normal self, but that one week later, she was struggling to breathe.

Family members of residents at The Life Care Center are scared for their loved ones’ health knowing that they have likely been exposed to the coronavirus. According to some families, the center was still allowing visitors and visits between residents after there had been confirmed COVID-19 cases at the facility. As a result of how The Life Care Center of Kirkland has been handling this pandemic, state and federal regulators have issued more than $600,000 in fines. These fines are comprised of a $13,585 per day fine over a six-week period for putting its elderly residents in “immediate jeopardy” by failing to identify and manage COVID-19 cases, notify regulators of increasing infections or have an adequate backup plan when its top doctor was sickened, regulators said.

The elderly are assumed to be among the most respected in our society, but after recent events, such as the coronavirus outbreak at the nursing home facility in Washington, families are left feeling like their loved ones are disposable. When you place your elderly loved one in a nursing home facility, you expect that they will be receiving the highest level of care possible. Families should not be left worrying whether the facility that they placed their elderly loved one is taking the proper precautionary measures to contain a COVID-19 outbreak.

If your loved one has passed away due to preventable exposure of the coronavirus, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. are skilled in handling cases of nursing home abuse or neglect. While our physical offices are currently closed in order to comply with the Illinois “shelter-in-place” order, our staff is still available over the phone, through online video meetings, or through email. Contact us today at (815) 929-9292 to let us help you with any potential legal matter.