Although it is sad when anyone succumbs to illness, there is something particularly tragic when it happens to veterans, who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it a dramatic spike in deaths among veterans living in state-run nursing homes.
An avoidable tragedy
The Veterans Affairs, who oversees the nation’s state-run veterans homes, undergoes a yearly safety inspection to ensure that its residents have the care that they need to live healthy and comfortable lives within the facilities. However, when Covid-19 hit, these safety inspections proved to be grossly inadequate, and many residents died as a result of shortcomings in the facilities’ protocols.
We may never know the true number of deaths in state-run facilities nation-wide. But according to one study, 110 state-run veterans homes saw a total of over 1,400 deaths – 40 of which were staff members. These facilities could have avoided many, if not most of these deaths with proper, proactive measures.
According to Politico, more than half of Covid-related deaths in state-run veterans homes happened late in the pandemic. This means that they occurred after their staff had had ample opportunity to learn how best to protect residents from the virus, and were not undersupplied or running dangerously low on masks or hand sanitizer, as was the case at the beginning of the pandemic.
What caused the problem?
The factors that led to these avoidable deaths were many, and varied from facility to facility. The common thread that linked the death toll in most of these facilities, however, was slowness or total failure to implement proven safety protocols, such as social distancing and masking. In some cases, lack of qualified staff aggravated the problem.
These factors, when taken together, resulted in a death toll in state-run veterans homes that far exceeded that of private veterans homes. Congress has recently increased funding to these facilities in an attempt to correct the problem, but these measures came far too late for far too many.
If you have a loved one in a state-run veterans home, and you suspect that they suffered neglect to a point that put their life at risk during the pandemic, do not wait to take action. An elder abuse lawsuit may be just what you need to ensure that your loved one’s dignity and health are preserved and protected.