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Is the Pandemic Causing a Spike in Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Cases?

While there has been much national attention put on the prevalence and the risk that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on nursing homes, the pandemic may also have created other circumstances that put nursing home residents at risk. More than 90,000 nursing home residents have died due to virus-related conditions, but thousands of other deaths have happened that may be linked to the lack of care because of nursing home staff that are overworked and overwhelmed.

According to a recent report by The Associated Press, nursing home watchdogs are being overwhelmed with reports of nursing home abuse and neglect. Many of these complaints are horrific, including reports of residents being left in dirty diapers until their skin peeled off and residents with bedsores so deep their bones are exposed.

Nursing home residents are also suffering from deteriorating mental health because of prolonged isolation, unable to receive visits from family and other loved ones. One report estimates that for every two COVID-19 nursing home visits, a third resident dies prematurely from other causes. Those “excess deaths” beyond the normal rate of fatalities in nursing homes could total more than 40,000 over the past eight months, 15 percent more than the average annual death rate of nursing home residents.

One study compared the death rates of nursing homes that were hit hard by the pandemic to nursing homes that were spared. Researchers concluded that the more the virus spread through the facility, the greater number of residents who died from other causes. For example, in facilities where there were three in 10 residents with the virus, the rate of death from other causes other than the virus more than doubled from what it was compared to other years prior to the pandemic.

Nursing home experts say that this is likely due to nursing home staff being consumed with trying to care for COVID residents or the facility being short-handed because of the number of staff who become infected and are unable to work.

Contact a Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today

Most nursing homes try to give their patients the best care possible, but when a facility is close to capacity and/or there is a shortage of staff, residents get neglected. This issue is even more intense in facilities that have been hit hard by the pandemic. If you suspect your loved one is being neglected or abused, you may not know where to turn to.

The legal team at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn understand how difficult the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can be. We also understand how horrifying it can be to find out the people you place your complete trust into care for your loved one failed to do their job and your family member has suffered injury and pain because of that failure.

If this has happened to your family, it is time to hold the nursing home accountable. Call our office today to meet with one of our dedicated Virginia nursing home abuse attorneys to find out what legal recourse you and your family may have. We will work diligently to make sure your family gets the financial justice you deserve.

 

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Eric K. Washburn
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia