The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the death of 1.4 million nursing home residents and long-term care employees throughout the United States. Although long-term care facilities have taken significant steps to combat the coronavirus and take care of ill residents, there has been a significant increase in nursing home neglect because the overburdened staff hasn’t been able to provide the necessary care.
According to data from The Associated Press of more than 15,000 nursing homes throughout the country, for every two COVID-19 victims in such facilities, there is another who died from premature causes. Between March and November 2020, there have been more than 40,000 of these “excess deaths.”
On March 25, 2021, Human Rights Watch said that staffing shortages and prolonged isolation may have resulted in substantial harm to many U.S. nursing home residents. Common concerns include untreated bedsores, dehydration/malnutrition, extreme weight loss, poor hygiene, medication issues, as well as mental and physical decline.
Although understaffing was already a serious issue in nursing home abuse and neglect cases, it also influenced staff members’ ability to provide consistent and sufficient support to all residents since personnel prioritized attending to ill residents or were short-handed because staff members also became infected. According to federal data, one in four nursing homes experienced staff shortages in 20 states that endured a surge in COVID-19 cases.
In addition, the absence of family visitors has also contributed to a rise in nursing home neglect during the outbreak. Not only do loved ones provide emotional support for residents, but they also supplemented that hands-on care to help staff members with essential tasks.
Other factors that contributed to an increase in abuse and neglect include limited transparency from nursing homes, such as visitor restrictions, limited inspections, and reduced data reporting requirements. Lastly, 32 states have enacted executive orders or laws protecting nursing homes from civil liability during the pandemic, including Connecticut, where protection ended on March 31, 2021.
If you or a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Hamden, CT, Sette & Parnoff, PC today at 203-490-4155 for a free initial consultation. Get a legal team with more than 45 years of personal injury experience.