It is widely known that the risks posed to residents and staff of care homes from Coronavirus infection are significant. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency have indicated that as of 22 May 2020 almost half of all deaths in Northern Ireland arising from Covid-19 infection occurred in care homes. It is therefore particularly important that the owners and managers of these homes recognise these risks and implement appropriate measures to minimise the risks as far as possible.
Unfortunately, concerns have become clear that many care homes have failed to do so. Nursing homes in Northern Ireland are regulated by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, who recently reported on serious failings at one NI care home including issues regarding infection control and failure to prevent the spread of infection. These failings are obviously of particular significance in the context of a global pandemic where residents of nursing homes are at acute risk due to their vulnerability to Covid-19.
Also, media reports have stated concerns that some residents of care homes, who have been diagnosed with Covid-19, continue to be treated in the care home as opposed to hospital. Concerns have been raised that such homes are often not equipped to deal with such a contagious condition, which can result in the spread of infection.
A care home owes its residents a duty of care to ensure that they are safe in their home. Also, the local Trusts and government may be highly criticised if patients who are diagnosed with Covid-19 are discharged to the care of a nursing care home, potentially putting other non-infected residents at risk. In due course, it is likely that Coronial Inquests and potentially a Public Inquiry will be required to fully explore these allegations.
If you have any concerns that a family member has been put in harms way and suffered from negligence in a nursing home due to inadequate infection control, please contact our Healthcare Team and we can discuss how best to have your concerns answered. We have dealt with a vast amount of nursing home claims in the past and are well equipped to get you the answer you require.