Nursing home abuse

Nursing Homes Were a Disaster Before COVID-19

May 20, 2020 by James McHugh, Jr.
Nursing home resident crying

For victims of nursing home negligence, the following statement will not be shocking – nursing homes were failing residents before the coronavirus pandemic. Nursing homes have long been notorious for instances of abuse towards residents; and, despite this unfortunate reality being known about residents continue to endure abuse at the hands of caregivers. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), at least one in every ten elderly Americans (aged 60+) experiences some form of abuse. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed just how bad conditions are at nursing homes across the country, many of which had a stained history long before the current pandemic.

The State of Nursing Homes

Nursing homes have come under scrutiny amidst the coronavirus pandemic due to the disproportionate and startling amount of infections and deaths among nursing home residents across the country. While the elderly are more vulnerable to coronavirus, this risk does not correlate to the volume of coronavirus-related fatalities seen in nursing home and long-term care facilities. In the 27 states that reported COVID-19 death records, at least 10,000 nursing home residents and staff died as a result of the pandemic. Low-grade health standards and the failure to provide quality care to residents are probable causes of rampant coronavirus infection growth in nursing home facilities.

Nursing homes that were failing patients before the coronavirus outbreak were at an even greater disadvantage once infection was found in their facilities. Furthermore, nursing homes that negligently failed to provide for residents’ basic needs – such as proper hygiene and medical care – were already serving as incubators for germs and bacteria that can lead to widespread infection. Simply put, long-term care facilities have found themselves caught in a vicious cycle that hurts residents.

Nursing Home Negligence

Nursing home residents commonly experience negligence that causes greater problems later on or worsens their current condition. When an infectious outbreak occurs, it is extremely important that all safety and hygienic protocols be properly and strictly followed. Facilities that were already failing to provide residents with daily baths, clean sheets, and clean clothing (including undergarments), as well as failing to follow staff protocols like thoroughly washing hands in between caring for residents, stand no chance against an extremely infectious virus. Residents living in poor conditions likely already have a weakened immune system due to their environment; and, furthermore poor conditions lessen the likelihood of recovery for a resident if their environment is not improved or cleaned. The lack of personal care by staff provides fewer opportunities to receive medical care if needed.

For elderly residents with weakened immune systems and/or underlying health conditions, it is always important to practice thorough hygiene as well as receive regular and thorough check-ups. During this unprecedented time, it is imperative that residents receive quality care. Staff must take extra measures to clean and sanitize facilities and residents to lessen the likelihood of infection spreading. Nursing home staff have a responsibility, regardless of the global health crisis, to provide adequate care to all residents; and, for far too long negligent staff have gone unpunished due to a lack of visibility for the cause. Now that nursing homes have come under fire due to reports of a high volume of resident fatalities, there comes a much-needed call for increased scrutiny as well as advocacy on behalf of residents. Nursing home staff should be properly vetted and trained to ensure they are capable of providing quality care. Additionally, nursing homes should provide visitors and residents with access to proper hygiene stations, sanitizers, and other personal protective equipment to ensure a clean and safe facility for all.

Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Unfortunately, while it has been widely known that nursing homes are hot spots for elder neglect, it has taken a global health crisis for many to wake up to the reality that nursing homes fail residents daily. No person should ever be subject to negligence or abuse, especially those who are vulnerable and rely on caregivers. If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home negligence, contact us today to discuss your case.

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