Putting a parent in a nursing home can be one of the most gut wrenching experiences in our lives. The guilt of needing one and the fear of picking the wrong one weigh heavily on one’s mind. After all, since we are not with them all day, if our loved ones experience nursing home negligence, we often will not discover it for some time. And, during these uncertain times, finding out that nursing home workers are routinely refusing mandatory testing just makes the entire process even more harrowing.
The testing requirement
The governor ordered all nursing homes to test their residents and workers regularly. Though, what many may not realize is that nursing homes are only required to provide testing. Workers are not required to take them, and hundreds of workers across the state are opting out.
In fact, according to data provided to The Associated Press by the Louisiana Department of Health, 700 employees refused testing in the July 22 data. While this number only represents about 2% of Louisiana’s 31,000 nursing home workers, this represents a huge liability to nursing home residents. Unfortunately, the data provided by LDH did not specify which employees opted out or specify the nursing homes that had opted out employees.
LDH does not impose penalties on these nursing home employees. It also does not call for or require nursing homes to fire their employees that refuse testing. LDH only states that these employees put residents and the employer at risk if they continue to work at the facility. On the other hand, the Louisiana Nursing Home Association stated that their member facilities have policies that include putting employees on leave or firing them when nursing home employees refuse testing.
For those that get sick as a result of a non-testing employee though, they may be able to file a personal injury case against that employee and the nursing home for nursing home negligence. Of course, this will be a very fact specific analysis that will likely require consulting an attorney. However, just because a family member has to be in a nursing home does not mean they do not have options if they experience negligence.