Failure to Use Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in nursing homes in Hollywood, Homestead, Coral Gables, and other South Florida communities. Personal protective equipment does two things. First, it prevents the user from getting the COVID-19 virus as readily. Second, it prevents anyone who is ill and may not be showing symptoms from infecting someone else.
Scientists have now established the COVID-19 virus is spread primarily by droplets which are produced whenever we speak, sneeze, cough, or even exhale. With no barrier, these droplets can travel several feet and are even light enough to remain suspended in the air for some time. Anyone who comes into contact with these droplets can breathe them in and get COVID-19.How PPE in Florida Nursing Homes Prevents the Spread of COVID-19
Personal protective equipment can include face masks, gowns, face shields, and gloves, which provide an extra barrier between individuals. Masks and face shields, especially, prevent droplets from reaching someone else by providing a physical barrier which prevents droplets from getting far. The barrier can also prevent some droplets from getting airborne at all.
In a nursing home, it is critical for staff members to wear personal protective equipment to ensure that if they have been infected with COVID-19 outside the nursing home, they do not then infect residents.
Staff need to wear PPE because they do leave the nursing home. While they travel, go home to their families, and run errands they may come into contact with people who have COVID-19 and can become infected. If they do not show symptoms they may not realize they have COVID-19 and can then pass the virus onto vulnerable residents at the nursing home where they work.Personal Protective Equipment and South Florida Nursing Homes
Nursing homes have an obligation to ensure they have enough personal protective equipment for their staff, including masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns. In addition, nursing homes should have a written policy and rules in place to mandate staff wear protective equipment any time they are interacting with residents.
It is essential nursing home staff get training about wearing personal protective equipment correctly. Unfortunately, when masks, gloves, and other protective gear are put on or removed incorrectly, it can actually increase COVID-19 exposure risk. Nursing home staff need to understand how often and when they need to replace personal protective event and there should be a system to collect used equipment and replace or clean it regularly. There should be enough PPE to allow staff, nurses, and other employees of the home to change PPE whenever it rips, tears, becomes soaked through, or gets soiled.Lack of PPE in Florida Nursing Homes
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you may wish to ask what the personal protective equipment policy is at the home. Look to see whether staff wear masks correctly and frequently when interacting with residents.
If your loved one has been exposed to COVID-19 while in a nursing home and you suspect that the incorrect use of personal protective equipment or lack of protective equipment has been the cause of the infection, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free, no obligation case consultation. Our team can meet with you virtually or over the phone to reduce the risk of exposure. We can help you understand whether you have a claim.