Virginia

Family Believes Lack of Information Contributed to Care Facility Nurse’s Death

NBC Universal, Inc.

A nurse who worked at a care facility in Alexandria, Virginia, where there is a coronavirus outbreak has died and her daughters say a lack of information might have contributed to her contracting the virus.

Nina Forbes wanted to be a nurse from the time she was a little girl. At age 50, after years as a nursing assistant, she went back to school for her degree.

"She really loved her job. She loved her residents. She loved her patients," Forbes' daughter Jessica Forbes said.

Some of the residents Nina Forbes cared for at the Silverado Memory Care facility in Alexandria contracted coronavirus.

Now, Nina’s close-knit family is grieving. She died from COVID-19 on April 25.

Her daughters believe a lack of information about the facility’s outbreak and a lack of proper protective equipment on the job led to her illness.

"She was concerned the PPE wasn’t enough. She was concerned about the new residents that were coming in after the lockdown, and why that was even allowed to happen," Jessica Forbes said.

Nina’s daughters say information supplied to the Silverado staff about the outbreak was scarce.

"I think that they didn’t do a good job communicating that there were confirmed cases, um, what the protocols, like Jess said, were," Nina Forbes' daughter Jennifer Forbes said.

Some family members who have loved ones at Silverado are also upset, complaining they are being kept in the dark.

A woman whose mother is at the facility asked that News4 conceal her identity. She says families need more information about the outbreak such as how many staff and residents have tested positive and how many have died.

"They should be as transparent as they can be. We have a right to know, a fundamental right to know. You know, we are their guardians who are advocates for people who are not able to advocate for themselves," the woman said.

When News4 asked Silverado's administrator for information about the outbreak, she declined, saying only that families had been notified that multiple residents had tested positive for COVID-19.

A spokesman from Silverado’s corporate office says staff were provided proper PPE — including face shields — exceeding CDC guidelines.

Nina Forbes' daughters still hoping hope the facility will change its information policy to provide a full picture of the outbreak to staff and residents' families.

"My mom finding out late that, you know, she had been taking care of people who had the virus is horrible. She found out too late," Jessica Forbes said.

The statement from Silverado also called Forbes' death a "tragic loss" for their team and they said she'll be remembered for her courage serving on the frontlines.

Here is Silverado's full statement to NBC Washington:

Our hearts go out to the families who have lost a loved one to this virus or are dealing with someone who is battling through it. We are humbled every day by the professionalism and dedication our nurses and caregivers continue to show our residents and their families during this pandemic.

The death of Nina Forbes, one of our caring and dedicated nurses, is a tragic loss to our team. Nina had a sensitive heart and compassion for our residents and loved her work serving others. She will be remembered for her courage to serve on the frontline of this crisis.

Despite publicized shortages around the country, well before the first sign of symptoms here, Silverado was able to secure a steady supply of PPE so our associates could use hand sanitizer and wear medical-surgical face masks with an additional layer of cloth mask covers. Then at the first sign of symptoms arose – ones not initially associated with COVID-19 - associates started using KN95 masks throughout the community along with face shields as an added layer of protection. We have also been utilizing disposable gowns, which many providers have not been able to procure.

Before any resident or associate exhibited symptoms, Silverado designated and created an industry leading innovation for providers caring for residents with memory impairing diseases, like Alzheimer’s Disease, designating a separate observation area to care for residents who began exhibiting symptoms.  We also post Respiratory Precautions signs on the door of each resident that is a presumed or confirmed positive, to remind our associates of their status and of the importance of proper use of PPE.

When we received our first COVID-19 positive resident and or associate, we notified all families. When a family’s loved one has any change of condition, including symptoms possibly related to COVID-19, we contact them without delay and continue regular communications until symptoms resolve.

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