Will Nursing Home Neglect Increase During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Apr 23, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the virus responsible for the worst global pandemic since the 1918 Spanish Flu. As the U.S. struggles to contain the virus, nursing home residents could be at risk. For example, the respiratory conditions caused by coronavirus are much more likely to kill the elderly or individuals with certain preexisting health conditions. Additionally, at-risk groups, many of whom live in nursing homes, are at increased risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) from the disease. As our nursing home neglect attorneys can explain, the outbreak of coronavirus will only compound existing dangers in these facilities here in South Carolina and across the country.

Along with the physical effects of coronavirus, many nursing homes are temporarily banning outside visitors. As such, families are prevented from visiting their loved ones. In addition, nursing home caregivers and staff are now working longer hours and are under a tremendous amount of stress.

Furthermore, some nursing homes are not providing nurses with adequate PPE (personal protective equipment). All of these factors make it more likely for elder abuse and neglect to occur. Therefore, it is likely that we will see an increase in nursing home neglect cases as this virus continues to spread. Family members should consider seeking legal help if they believe a nursing home has put their loved one in harm’s way.

Preventing Nursing Home Neglect During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As mentioned above, the country is in a state of flux. Many nursing home facilities have shut their doors. Therefore, if you have a family member in a nursing home, then you may not be able to visit them. However, there are still ways you can recognize the signs of abuse and neglect, even if you cannot visit.

  •     Call frequently to speak with staff
  •     Use video calls (Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook)
  •     Regularly communicate with caregivers
  •     Speak to other family members
  •     Speak to other resident families

Video calls can be especially useful for spotting harmful conditions in a nursing home. Look for the following:

  •     Are they clean and bathed?
  •     Are they still wearing the same clothes?
  •     Do they look scared or withdrawn?
  •     Are there signs of physical injury?
  •     Is the room extremely unhygienic?

Aside from communicating with your loved one, it is important to expand your support group during this time. Ask for updates from multiple staff members. You might uncover contradicting information.

However, be aware that some nursing homes are overloaded and may have difficulty taking your calls. If you are able, then contact other residents’ families and get their impressions regarding the care in the facility. This can help you identify red flags before your loved one suffers harm.

Contact Our Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys in Rock Hill, SC

Nursing home abuse is sometimes difficult to identify and prove. That is why you need an experienced nursing home abuse attorney on your side. An attorney can review the situation and help you choose the legal options that are best for you and your family. 

At the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson, Jr. our nursing home abuse attorneys in Rock Hill can help protect your loved one from further harm. We can also help you hold abusive caregivers and institutions accountable. Call us at (803) 324-7200 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information.