The coronavirus is racing through America’s nursing facilities, and the impact is far greater than the federal government estimated. More than 2,300 long-term care facilities in different states have reported positive cases of coronavirus infections, and over 3,000 residents have died. Most people fear that the stress and panic associated with the COVID-19 pandemic might result in neglect and abuse in nursing facilities.
Recently, there has been heightened concern over neglect and abuse in nursing facilities during the coronavirus pandemic. For those who have been keeping up with the news, you probably heard that you shouldn’t panic because the disease is killing individuals with underlying conditions and the elderly ones. Does that mean these people are expendable?
For the residents of nursing facilities or people who have loved ones in these facilities, their fear of elder neglect and abuse is real. That fear is stronger when they hear time and again that individuals in these facilities are considered less important. The issue of undervalued lives of the elderly population is a big problem and requires serious attention.
Patient needs must be met
Though the COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide health crisis that has caused many changes, the needs of residents and patients in nursing homes shouldn’t be ignored. Visiting may be restricted or not allowed. However, this doesn’t mean that elderly residents should suffer in silence.
Some nursing homes are making it possible for you to check on your loved ones through video calls and sometimes through a window. Try as much as you can to keep in contact with your relatives in these facilities. Let them know someone is looking out for their interests.
During visits, daily phone calls, or video calls, find out if the resident is being cared for. Are they being fed and groomed? Take note of everything your relative tells you. If you notice any signs of neglect and abuse, report the matter to the right authorities.
You can sue a nursing facility for neglect after contracting coronavirus
Nursing facilities are expected to keep elderly adults safe at a critical period in their lives when they cannot take care of themselves. Unfortunately, some elderly adults are abused and neglected while in these nursing homes. Some of them have contracted coronavirus and died.
It’s impossible to prevent all types of infections or death in every situation. However, a nursing facility can be held legally liable for illnesses or wrongful death of patients under their care for recklessness or negligence. If a resident suffered injuries due to negligence on the part of the staff members, the facility could be sued for the damages that the resident suffered.
Long before coronavirus hit the world, there were specific laws in place to protect elder residents in nursing homes. Sadly, some of these individuals have been neglected, and others abused. Generally, abuse takes many forms, including financial exploitation, sexual abuse, mistreatment, physical abuse, neglect, and mental abuse. Neglect may include failure to offer the right medical care and not responding appropriately to emergency situations like coronavirus outbreak.
Seek legal counsel
Neglect and abuse in nursing homes aren’t acceptable, even in times of outbreaks like coronavirus. While nurses and other staff members in nursing homes don’t want to be sued for neglect, they must ensure all the laws regarding nursing facilities and assisted living are fully observed.
If you feel your loved one isn’t being protected from coronavirus or contracted the virus due to negligence on the part of the staff, contact an experienced lawyer. Most of the residents in nursing homes may not speak up for themselves, and it is your job to ensure they are not neglected.