Advocates and attorneys for nursing home residents warn that many states – including New York – have granted immunity to skilled nursing facilities for care they provide during the COVID-19 crisis, according to a story by Eleanor Laise in Barron’s.
Advocates for the elderly fear that such blanket protection will make it easier for facilities to cover up negligence and the abuse of elderly patients in nursing homes.
Many families, the story continues, are already at a disadvantage from the moment they sign the admission agreement, which often has arbitration clauses preventing residents from having negligence and abuse claims heard in a court of law.
John Dalli, a partner in the law firm Dalli & Marino, LLP, says this immunity for New York facilities, coupled with arbitration agreements and current visitation bans at nursing homes, greatly heightens residents’ risks during this pandemic.
“Unfortunately Governor Cuomo’s granting nursing homes immunity for negligent care coupled with the additional directive where nursing homes are relieved from the responsibility to chart is a virtual death sentence for many nursing home residents,” said Dalli. “With family members unable to visit, no one is around to witness wrongdoing. So there will be little if any record of inadequate care and understaffing.”
He adds, “If you have a loved one in a nursing home now, keep in constant, daily contact with them and any staff member about what’s happening with their care. You should also call an attorney to discuss any questions or concerns.”
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