Colorado Health Department Officials believe at least 55 people living in residential and non-hospital long term care facilities had died from COVID-19 as of April 5th when the state reported a total of 140 COVID-19 related deaths overall. That means close to 40% of the people who’ve died of complications from the novel coronavirus in Colorado were living in nursing homes or residential health care facilities.
Because many residents of Colorado nursing homes meet the criteria of the population that COVID-19 has the most negative health impacts on, those who over age 60 with chronic medical conditions, long term care facilities are the perfect setting for dangerous communicable diseases to take hold. Administrative personnel must take expedient precautions to reduce the spread in common areas with shared resources, including staff members and equipment. Facilities should engage in the same practices used to decrease the spread of respiratory infections such as influenza. COVID-19 has most recently evolved from a virus spread in certain species of animals to a virus that can take host in humans and spread through coughing, sneezing and close contact between people.
Duty of care.
A duty of care is owed to residents of Colorado nursing homes in accordance with state and federal laws and nursing home abuse covers acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions or place residents in danger. The constant flow of staff and visitors entering a facility increases risks of dangerous pathogens flowing into closed living quarters causing unintentional harm to residents. Elderly nursing home residents are vulnerable to dangerous complications of COVID-19, as many residents have weakened immune systems and frail bodies exacerbating the likelihood of increased breathing complications and the possibility of death. Deviations from facility cleanliness, staff hygiene and administrative infectious disease protocols could place a resident at risk and could be considered acts of unintentional negligence. If you, or a loved one suffered injury, or death from the mishandling of communicable disease protocols at a nursing home, or sustained exposure to other sick residents, you may be entitled to compensation from the facility where the illness originated. Contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in nursing home laws in Colorado.
A wrongful death action can be brought forth in Colorado when a person’s death is caused as a direct result of neglect or carelessness by another party. Negligence would need to be proven. Infection control in nursing facilities is governed by the Department of Health and Human Services through state and federal laws and outlines situations when infected residents should be isolated away from healthy residents.
Statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Colorado is two years from the date of the decedent’s death, with reasonable support that a defendant’s negligence or intentional action played a role in causing the death.
Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) of 1987