If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you always are concerned about the quality of care they are receiving. Since March, when the coronavirus pandemic rapidly spread throughout the United States, many family members have been limited in seeing their loved ones in nursing care. It’s made it harder for family members to check in on their loved ones and ensure they are well and not becoming victims to nursing home abuse or neglect.
In addition, the current public health crisis has put a lot of pressure on health care providers. Many doctors, nurses and nursing assistants are feeling burned out, especially those who work in nursing care facilities where the virus easily can spread and they can become ill too. With burnout comes the sad reality that nursing home employees could lash out against residents.
So, if you have loved one in a nursing home, you need to be on the alert for signs of abuse and neglect now more than ever. Yet how can you do that if you can’t physically visit your loved one? Or if you only can visit with them briefly, outdoors, every so often?
Here are some ways you can help spot nursing home neglect and abuse in this unprecedented health crisis:
- Keep the lines of communication open with your loved one. If you can only connect via video chats, do them frequently. Watch carefully if your loved one suddenly looks more disheveled or unclean.
- Ask your loved one frequently about the care they are receiving. If they are not willing to talk about it, that could be a sign of nursing home neglect.
- Take note of your loved one’s mood. If they seem sullen and withdrawn or angry and depressed, those could be signs of nursing home abuse.
- Ask your loved ones questions about their caregivers and how they are dealing with working during this stressful time.
- Ask the nursing home management staff about the facility’s COVID-19 prevention plan and how they are dealing with any sick patients, so you feel comfortable that your loved one’s health and well-being isn’t in danger.
If you have concerns about your loved one suffering nursing home abuse or neglect, you should document all your concerns. Then you should contact the facility’s management. If you feel management’s response is insufficient, you should talk to an attorney who has experience with nursing home abuse cases. You want to do all you can to protect your loved one.