Immunity for Assault?

Immunity for Abuse

The nursing home industry demands legal immunity for acts of abuse and neglect for the last 18 months. Why does this make sense?

For example, according to the Belleville News-Democrat, investigators cited New Athens Home for the Aged for putting residents’ safety in “immediate jeopardy.”  A nurse allegedly sexually assaulted an elderly resident last year during the pandemic. An employee who witnessed the assault did not notify did not notify his supervisor until nearly a week later.  The Illinois Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined the facility more than $200,000.

Caregiver Richard P. Kuklinski was charged with felony aggravated criminal sexual assault of a victim who was 60 years old or older. Kuklinski was working at New Athens Home for the Aged when he allegedly sexually assaulted a male resident with a history of traumatic brain injury and anxiety.

Why should the facility be free from accountability? Doesn’t the resident deserve justice and compensation?

Still a Problem

Staff who are the most likely to interact with vulnerable patients are the least likely to have been vaccinated. Less than 50% of CNAs are vaccinated. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team reported strong evidence that unvaccinated staff members are infecting nursing home residents.  Dr. James Lee of the CDC Covid-19 Response Team and colleagues wrote:

“One concern is that nurses and aides in this sample, who have the most patient contact, had the lowest vaccination coverage. COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in long term care facilities in which residents were highly vaccinated, but transmission occurred through unvaccinated staff members.” 

The industry needs to mandate vaccinations as soon as the FDA approves the vaccines. Maybe sooner.