Senior Care Facilities & Nursing Home Deaths

The latest media reports show a staggering number of deaths in Canada are linked to long-term care homes or facilities. The elderly are some of the most vulnerable members of our society and highly susceptible to the devastating effects of this virus.

This specific pandemic has illuminated the shortfalls within our nursing homes that have been going on for years. Many feel helpless as they watch friends and family members experience the brunt of these shortfalls. Many also feel as if these organizations are not providing the public with the full picture of what is going on including staffing and funding shortfalls, as well as health standards that aren’t being met. While inspections of these facilities do take place, there can be changes from the last time one  took place to present day. This creates quite a cause for concern.

When our elderly are infected, they tend to experience the symptoms on a larger scale than those younger individuals. They may also have several comorbidities which require a specific type of care. What is also compounding the many problems in these facilities is that occasionally management has failed to properly protect the staff with PPE equipment or develop in-house processes which mitigate against risks. Media reports have shown many workers walking out on the job as they have felt that their health is at risk. These nursing homes have had ample warning to prepare for the effects of this pandemic and as such ought to known of the many issues that would arise.

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Elder Abuse During the Pandemic

Over the years our firm has been at the helm of several class action lawsuits which have sought to bring about change in these facilities. Several of the Plaintiffs that we represented in these claims complained of both poor standards and elder abuse. In the past, caregivers have failed to meet an acceptable level of care and subsequently elders have seen their various conditions deteriorate. This applies to both physical and mental maladies.

With the pandemic, it is crucial that the elderly be closely monitored during these times for symptoms of the virus, including shortness of breath, fever, body aches, chills, dry cough, and sore throat. Recent media reports have also shown that those affected with the virus may experience renal failure or even meningitis.

If your relative’s caregiver and/or care facility neglected them during this pandemic, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against them. This includes both failing to take action to prevent them from contracting the virus as well as failing to provide a sufficient level of health care. Long-term care facilities must meet an acceptable standard of care and have a fiduciary responsibility to their residents and visitors. Facilities should have developed extensive plans to prevent infection and treat those who are experiencing a decline in their function as a result.

As the world continues to take on this global emergency, legal liability questions have started to move into the forefront of discussion.

“Individuals who have been infected as the result of visiting a medical or long-term care facilities may be able to sue the business,” said Jeremy Diamond. “The facility ought to have known of the risk of infection and acted accordingly.”

“If an individual passes away from complications due to the disease, it may also create the potential for a wrongful death lawsuit,” he adds. “This includes both residents in the facility as well as visitors.”

Although businesses are always obligated to maintain healthy standards of cleanliness and sanitation, new enhanced measures have been implemented in response to the current crisis. As a result, these facilities should have adapted them  and worked to the best of their ability to avoid related illness and deaths.

Long term care facilities which fail to comply with these new measures and regulations may be exposing themselves to liability if their facility or location can be linked to infections.

“What facilities need to think about right now is their responsibility to their community,” said Jeremy Diamond. “That is not just an ethical responsibility, it’s a legal one too. We must continue to advocate for society’s most vulnerable and demand better senior care.”

As of April 20, 2020, there have been more than 120 outbreaks reported at long-term care homes across the province to date.

According to CTV News:

Quick facts on all Ontario patients:

  •  11.9 per cent of all patients have been hospitalized at one point
  •  42.2 per cent of all patients in the province are male and 56.8 per cent are female – 117 cases did not specify male or female gender
  •  43.8 per cent of all patients are 60 years of age or older – nine cases did not specify their age
  •  2.2 per cent of all patients are 19 years of age or younger
  •  22.6 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 20 and 39
  •  31.2 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 40 and 59
  •  22.9 per cent of all patients are between the ages of 60 and 79
  •  20.9 per cent of all patients are 80 years of age or older
  •  Public health units in the Greater Toronto Area account for 58.7 per cent of all cases in the province
  •  10.7 per cent of all patients had travelled in the 14 days prior to becoming ill
  •  17.4 per cent of all patients had contact with a previously confirmed case
  •  30.5 per cent of all patients had community exposure
  •  41.4 per cent of all patients had exposure information listed as pending

If a loved one has been a victim of insufficient care, elder abuse or contracted the virus as a result of nursing home facility you may be able to secure compensation for the abuse.

Contact a qualified Toronto senior care lawyer at Diamond and Diamond Lawyers to get help with your claim. Call 1-800-567-4878 or fill out the quick contact form below when you are ready to get started on your case.

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FAQ Senior Care Facilities & Nursing Home Deaths

Does Medicare cover senior living facilities?

Medicare does not cover any cost of assisted living. It will pay for most medical costs incurred while the senior is in assisted living, but will pay nothing toward custodial care or the room and board cost of assisted living.

Can a nursing home take your social security?

In 2004 the federal SSI benefit rate (FBR) for individuals living independently was $564 per month; the rate for couples was $846. All but six states provided some type of supplement to this benefit for recipients in specific circumstances such as living in a nursing home (SSA 2005b, 5–6).

What happens if you run out of money in a nursing home?

The person will receive Medicaid at the facility as long as the person’s income is less than the Medicaid reimbursement rate for that facility. For Medicaid in a skilled nursing facility there is protection for assets for a spouse still living at home.

What do I do if I suspect an older person is being mistreated?

If you suspect an older person is being mistreated, call 911 immediately, especially if they are in immediate, life-threatening danger. Relay your concerns to the local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or the police.

Can I file a lawsuit against a nursing home who is negligent in their management of coronavirus?

Yes, you can file a lawsuit against a nursing home who is negligent in their coronavirus management. You must gather your evidence to increase your chances of winning your claim.

Who can file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit?

Immediate family members, including spouses, can file a wrongful death claim. Children, adopted children, and parents of unmarried children, distant family members, such as siblings and grandparents, domestic or life partners, and financial dependents, and those who suffer financially due to the death can also file this claim.

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