The Coronavirus global pandemic is focusing bright light on the pre-existing lapses of skilled nursing facilities and demonstrating what happens when nursing home chains fail to follow infectious disease protocols leading to other victims of Nursing Home Neglect. Reports of horrific numbers of death in nursing homes from across the United States continue to pour in, a clear indication of rampant poor management across the industry. And now there are even more heartbreaking stories of families forbidden to enter nursing homes for fear of making grave conditions even worse.
Unfortunately, elderly residents in nursing homes aren’t the only victims. The caregivers themselves, in many cases, heroic nurses, are other victims of Nursing Home Neglect being forced to work in unsafe environments because the companies that hire them are either inept, incompetent, or utterly corrupt. How else can the industry explain so many of their facilities entered the battle against the Coronavirus without already having the essential protective gear, such as masks and gloves, for their nursing home staff?
A surprisingly large number of nursing home workplaces are unsafe because employer chain operators failed to take the necessary precautions. They took the Federal dollars given to them, and pocketed them, instead of making essential investments in staff, equipment, and facilities. While we at York Law Firm usually hear from families and patients in nursing homes, during this pandemic, we’ve also gotten messages from nurses and frontline workers who have significant questions:
- ‘Should I show up for work when my employer is unable (or maybe unwilling) to provide gloves, masks, and other protective equipment?’
- ‘Who should I contact about my unsafe work environment?’
- ‘Do I have a right to take a paid leave until the facility gets protective gear?’
If you or someone you know has these kinds of questions, I strongly encourage reaching out to your state at https://calaborlaw.com/complaint/. It is never OK to force an employee to work in an unsafe workplace.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an employer may not discharge, discipline, or discriminate against any employee who lawfully takes paid sick leave, files a complaint, or institutes a proceeding under or related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
It’s now apparent to all that the nursing home industry is in crisis due to widespread neglect, understaffing, and mismanagement. Nursing home patients, and their caregivers, deserve better living and workplace conditions.
Report bad behavior, don’t condone it or sweep it under the rug.
Attorney Wendy York of York Law Firm specializes in prosecuting elder abuse and wrongful death cases.