COVID-19’s Impact on Tennessee Nursing Homes

April 10th, 2020 by Attorney John Colvin

Person Pushing an Elderly Person in a Wheelchair

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic poses an extreme risk to nursing home residents. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, older adults, immunocompromised people, and others with underlying medical conditions are at a very high risk of developing a severe illness (or worse) from COVID-19.

Even more alarming, once introduced, this virus can spread incredibly quickly throughout an entire assisted facility. Immediate action must be taken by administrators and staff members. Here, our Winchester nursing home neglect attorneys explain the most important things you need to know about COVID-19’s impact on assisted living facilities in Tennessee. 

Tragedy: Coronavirus Outbreak Hits Gallatin, TN Nursing Home

Sadly, we have already seen the horrific devastation that COVID-19 can cause if it runs unchecked through a nursing home or assisted living facility. As reported by News Channel 5 Nashville, eight nursing home residents have already died as a result of coronavirus exposure that occurred at the Gallatin Center for Rehabilitation and Healing in Sumner County, Tennessee.

Many other residents tested positive for COVID-19 and have developed a severe illness. A nursing home neglect lawsuit has already been filed against the owners and operators of the facility. An attorney representing family members of the victims alleges that employees of the facility were required to keep coming to work, even though they were showing symptoms of the illness. 

Nursing Homes Have an Obligation to Protect Residents

As the novel coronavirus is uniquely dangerous for senior citizens and people with underlying health conditions, nursing homes must commit to preventing the introduction and spread of the virus. If any patient, visitor, or employee is showing symptoms consistent with the illness, the individual must be isolated from others without any delay. When appropriate, the facility should work with the state to get access to a coronavirus test. That being said, there is no reason or justification to wait for a positive result before taking steps to protect resident safety.  

The guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health is clear: Any suspicions of coronavirus exposures in a nursing home should be reported to state authorities immediately. Beyond that, health officials are advising facilities to screen residents for fever and/or respiratory distress on a daily basis. When facilities fail to take proactive measures to protect vulnerable residents from COVID-19, the consequences can be dangerous, even deadly. Nursing homes must be held accountable if they neglect to protect their vulnerable residents. 

Get Help Our Tennessee Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys Today

At the Law Offices of John Colvin, our Tennessee nursing home neglect lawyer is a compassionate, diligent advocate for victims and families. If your loved one was exposed to COVID-19 in a nursing home, we are here to help. Our firm is set up to operate remotely during the coronavirus outbreak. 

For a free, strictly confidential initial consultation, please contact our law firm today. From our law offices in Winchester, we handle nursing home abuse & neglect claims throughout the region, including in Tullahoma, Huntland, Sewanee, Decherd, Belvidere, and Cowan.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama