It’s no secret that America’s nursing homes having a nursing home abuse problem. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. The Human Rights Watch put out a statement in March 2021 revealing evidence of “extreme weight loss, dehydration, untreated bedsores, inadequate hygiene, mental and physical decline, and inappropriate use of psychotropic medications among nursing home residents.”
Why Were Nursing Homes Hit So Hard?
Staffing shortages likely contributed to the issue, which has affected millions of residents. With fewer long-term care employees available, workers are stretched too thin to provide reasonable care. What’s worse is that the visitor ban ensured that family members couldn’t step up to help—something that nursing homes depend upon even in normal times, HRW reports.
Of course, the virus itself took its toll on the population. In fact, “[m]ore than 1.4 million residents and long-term care employees have been infected with the coronavirus and more than 178,000 have died, making up 34 to 40 percent of all United States deaths from COVID-19.” Those deaths may be underreported, actually—there seem to be about 40,000 excess, unaccounted-for deaths in nursing homes over the course of 2020. That’s a staggering death toll for our most vulnerable population.
What Can I Do if My Loved One was Abused?
If you believe that your loved one was abused during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have legal recourse. Nursing homes have a legal and moral duty to provide adequate care to their residents—a duty so serious that Ohio has codified it into law. These resident rights cannot be waived.
The best thing you can do is write down all of your personal observations, with dates and times. Note whether the nursing homes seem to be short-staffed, how employees treat the residents and any areas of concern you observe. If your loved one is able to tell you about their concerns, write that down too. Remember that psychological problems, such as depression, agitation, anxiety and fear are just as serious as bed sores, bad hygiene, significant weight loss and dehydration.
Next, call a personal injury attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse. They can help you determine whether you have a case and what kind of compensation you can expect to recover. More importantly, they can give you advice on how best to care for your loved one, so they never have to suffer from nursing home abuse again.
Talk to an Ohio Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
If you or a loved one are a victim of nursing home abuse, I can help hold the facility accountable. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my firm at 877.944.4373 to learn more about how I can assist families in Ohio with nursing home negligence or abuse claims.