Elder Neglect in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities are Not Being Reported due to COVID-19
We were all affected by Coronavirus in different capacities, but our elderly population was specifically shaken by the virus on many levels. Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals had to restrict the number of visitors coming into these medical facilities to avoid the spread of Covid-19. This included immediate family members, friends, and even state watchdogs. With limited visibility into their loved one’s day to day lives inside these facilities, negligence and abuse became almost impossible to detect.
As a result, experts believe there has been a sharp increase in unreported nursing home neglect injuries.
A recent case in Sacramento, California highlights Frank, 82 and Lucy, 73. In January 2020, Lucy suffered a stroke which would ultimately begin her journey down a dark path of nursing home negligence. In the four months following Lucy’s stroke, she has had to have her leg amputated from the knee down and developed a colon infection knows as C. Diff, after having been left sitting in her own fecal matter. Frank and Lucy believe this could have been prevented if the nursing home Lucy was in had done what they were supposed to do. However, with Coronavirus limiting visitation, Frank couldn’t see first-hand what was happening to his wife inside these facilities. As a result, the nursing home neglect went unreported.
Experts are Concerned about Under Reported Cases of Nursing Home Abuse due to Coronavirus
Because the pandemic has caused nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals to go on lock down for months, Carole Herman, founder and president of the Foundation Aiding the Elderly, said she is concerned elderly abuse is going under the radar and likely increasing inside these facilities during the lock down.
“I always think the family members that go in to take care of their family members (in nursing homes) are the eyes and ears of the patient,” Herman said. “They’re going to see what’s going on first handed. Now that they’re being denied access, it’s very scary.”
A California ombudsman reported that elderly abuse cases have gone down substantially (by 44%!) since the start of the pandemic, but not in a good way. It is highly unlikely that care has improved during the pandemic. In reality, with staff shortages and stressed healthcare workers, care levels have almost certainly dropped. It therefore makes no sense was reported adverse incidents are down by almost 50%.
Chances are elderly abuse is still occurring at the same rate or higher, but it’s being under reported.
Nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals are certainly taxed right now in order to provide care to residents, especially impacted by Covid-19. But that is no excuse for the terrible care Lucy received during her nursing home residency. If these facilities have adequate staffing, which they often do not, we will see less of these cases. Most states have protocol which requires nursing staff to ensure each resident receives a certain amount of care hours. Without a support system or advocate like visiting family members to double check the nurses while on lock down, it’s extremely hard to prove the nursing home is doing the right thing.
Where and How Can I Report Elder Abuse?
Thankfully, we have created a resource on our website of what to look for even if you cannot physically visit your loved one in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital. Click the link to learn how and where to report nursing home neglect in your state.
If you suspect neglect, take action now. It is better to be safe than sorry.
For more information or a free consultation, please call Senior Justice Law Firm at 888-375-9998.« Previous PostNext Post »