COVID in Nursing Homes

Attendants and caregivers working in nursing homes are on the front lines battling this virus, and put their lives in danger every day they go to work.

Because of close contact between residents and staff, group activities such as dining and socializing and low pay and sick leave for employees that encourages some to ignore symptoms of illness and work at multiple locations, nursing homes were some of communities hardest hit by COVID-19.  Because residents are usually extremely high-risk for respiratory infections like COVID-19, safety should be the top priority for nursing homes–but often is neglected for cost-savings reasons.

Sick elderly man of COVID-19 lies in bed at nursing home wearing medical mask while wife takes care of him

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What steps should nursing homes take to protect workers and residents?

Government agencies and industry organizations have issued some best practices that nursing homes should strongly consider following to protect employees, residents and their families during COVID-19 and other infectious illness outbreaks.

Disease-related health and safety regulations are typically passed at the state level. Check with your state’s Department of Health for more details about safety protocols and health regulations nursing homes must follow in addressing COVID-19 infections and re-opening safely.

Elderly woman applying hand sanitizer gel from caregiver to helping protect from coronavirus COVID-19

Best Practices for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19


  • Designate a staff member with infection prevention and control training to implement safety measures
  • Frequent and accurate reporting of infection statistics and treatment capacity
  • Train all staff in infection prevention and safety protocols
  • Require facemasks
  • Monitor PPE supplies and train staff in proper use of PPE
  • Use of dedicated medical equipment for all Covid-19 positive or suspected positive residents
  • Launder all reusable PPE daily


  • Prohibiting non-essential visitors except in limited compassionate care (end of life) situations
  • Restricting exposure of residents and employees with essential visitors
  • Prohibit from entry any individuals showing fever, respiratory symptoms or exposure to COVID-19
  • Require frequent handwashing and hand sanitizing by all staff and essential visitorsRequire face masks or cloth masks for all visitors
  • Offer flexible and non-punitive sick leave for all staff
  • Screen all staff at the beginning of each shift by taking temperature and inquiring about respiratory symptoms and fever


  • Require face masks or cloth masks for residents when outside of their rooms to the extent possible
  • Set up alternative methods of communication for residents, including video calls and telehealth visits
  • Make soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer, tissues and garbage cans widely available
  • All residents in affected units must be monitored at least once a shift
  • Limitations on large communal gatherings and treatments

Contracting the Virus

We’re Here to Help

You may have a limited time to bring a lawsuit or complaint, and fast action is especially important while states are considering laws to protect nursing homes. If you or your family is in this situation, please call Pelton Graham LLC for a free consultation: 888-975-5997

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For more information on industry and government guidance, see:

For more information on laws shielding nursing homes from COVID-19 lawsuits, see: