Throughout the United States, nursing homes have been hit hard by COVID-19. Sadly, the staggering numbers of deaths at long term care facilities due to the virus are only part of the tragic story at many of these facilities. Reports of neglect at long term care facilities are skyrocketing since the arrival of the pandemic.
Many facilities fall short
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities, many of which struggle with understaffing even in the best of times, now face a continual lack of staff for proper care of their residents. At the same time, the loved ones of residents face challenges in visiting their relatives because of pandemic restrictions.
In addition to not enough staff to take care of residents under normal circumstances, the staff that are at work are often preoccupied with the needs of the residents with COVID-19. Here are just some of the consequences of nursing home neglect during the pandemic.
Consequences of neglect
Dehydration and malnutrition are signs that your loved one is not getting the care they need. When there is no one to remind or encourage a resident to eat or drink, they may go without essential sustenance and suffer decline that can lead to further disability or death.
Unexplained injuries and illnesses such as bedsores from not being repositioned enough, untreated urinary tract infections, which can be especially dangerous to the elderly. Those who need extra assistance eating and drinking may get pneumonia from aspirating liquids or pieces of food. Unsupervised residents may be at an increased risk of falls and the fractures that may result. When basic needs do not get met, emotional withdrawal and psychiatric decline often follow.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that neglect can be avoided with adherence to staffing rules and standards of care established by regulations. Care facilities are responsible to allocate proper resources, staffing and otherwise, even during a pandemic, to properly care for residents who have been entrusted to their care.