COVID-19 – Nursing Home and Assisted Living Center Preparedness

March 18, 2020

The novel cornoavirus (COVID-19) is reported as posing the greatest threat to the elderly population, especially those with pre-existing and compromised medical conditions.  Nursing homes, assisted living and long term care facilities are considered among the most at risk locations for transmission of the virus.  Medical and legal considerations are among the many challenges that must be given consideration by these facilities in taking appropriate steps to protect residents and comply with local and federal guidelines.

Just this week the American Healthcare Association (AHA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) released guidelines meant to protect residents including measures related to enhanced infection control and prevention, increased monitoring for potential symptoms,  screening of staff, canceling group activities, implementing social distancing and widespread restrictions to visitation.  The Center for Disease Control and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released similar guidelines.  Many states, including Pennsylvania, have requested that nursing facilities ban visitors with limited exceptions.  Just this week Governor Tom Wolf announced that all nursing homes in Pennsylvania should ban visitors in an effort to prevent the spread of the Cornoavirus.

Compliance issues, legal implications for failure to take appropriate action, liability concerns, operational issues and general advice in implementing appropriate protocols are just a few of the issues long-term care facilities now must prepare for and address in the face of the Cornoavirus.  For questions on local and national protocols, mandates, guidelines, and general legal advice contact Ms. Erica Laughlin of Strassburger McKenna Gutnick & Gefsky at elaughlin@smgglaw.com or (412) 996-7516.