Elder Abuse at Nursing Homes During Covid-19
Covid-19 and its Effects on Abuse of Seniors in Nursing Homes
It is no secret that Covid-19 has had a serious effect on the elderly population. Senior citizens have a much higher mortality rate from Covid-19 and are at greater risk of complications than younger people.
Studies show that the mortality rate for Covid-19 patients who are in their 70s or 80s is nearly 15%. Compare that to the rate of 3.6% for those in their 60s. Studies also show that the elderly are suffering more than others from the consequences of policies to slow the illness’s spread. Nursing home residents and other seniors are experiencing loneliness, isolation, depression, loss of freedom, and support in ways they have never imagined.
Covid-19 has Resulted in Increased Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes
Elder abuse has been a problem in the US for decades. Despite our best intentions when we place a loved one in a nursing home, stories of abuse and neglect are sadly inevitable. Reports indicate that in the US, one in every ten people “over the age of 60 suffers physical, verbal, or sexual abuse or financial exploitation.” This is a startling statistic that most experts believe is inaccurate because many elder abuse instances are unreported.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 has caused elder abuse to become more frequent.
Constantine G. Lyketsos, MD, Haroon Burhanullah, MD, and Mansoor Malik, MD,
wrote in a September 2020 Psychiatric Times article that “One of the disturbing social consequences of COVID-19 includes a significant increase in the number of elder abuse cases.” The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines elder abuse as any “intentional act or failure to act by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a serious risk of harm to an older adult.”
Elder abuse can occur under the watch of any caregiver-even a family member can cause harm. But, elder abuse occurs most often in nursing homes where residents are extremely vulnerable. The degree of dependence of each nursing home resident may differ, but generally speaking, people who live in nursing homes need assistance from their caregivers. They depend on them- it is why they are in nursing homes, to begin with. Risk factors of being the victim of nursing home abuse include cognitive impairment, physical immobility, and social isolation.
What Might Be Some Examples Of Elder Abuse?
Nursing home abuse and elder abuse can occur in many ways. Abuse can be physical, emotional or financial and might include:
- Withholding food
- Withholding water
- Refusing to tend to basic needs
- Failing to keep someone clean
- Sexually abusing
- Negligent supervision
- Failing to supervise movement
- Failing to move patients
- Sexually assaulting/rape
- Physically or chemically restraining
- Withholding affection
- Negligent hiring
Reports of Elder Abuse On the Rise
According to Drs. Malik, Burhanullah, and Lykestos, the risk factors of elder abuse have become compounded by Covid-19. The Drs. claim that reports of elder abuse since Covid-19 have “skyrocketed.” Why?
Isolation is one significant reason. Nursing homes and assisted living homes were forced to shut their doors to visitors and not allow residents to leave. Visitors and family members are often the ones to notice and report nursing home abuse. For months, nursing home residents and the treatment they received went completely unchecked by outsiders. This left ample room for abuse and neglect to occur in nursing homes.
Abuse reports from other caregivers also increased for a variety of potential reasons. Economic pressures may have resulted in more individuals exploiting older relatives. Frustrations at home because of unemployment or isolation could have increased physical abuse and anger toward a loved one in. your care. Home health care workers may have been unavailable during Covid-19, leaving the burden of care on individuals ill-equipped to handle the responsibility.
Call Our Lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP, to Learn More About Filing an Elder Abuse Claim
No one should suffer harm or indignity at the hands of a caregiver in a nursing home or other residence. Caregivers and nursing homes have the duty to ensure the safety of their residents and patients. When someone does something to hurt your loved one or fails to do something to ensure their safety, you might be able to file a nursing home abuse or neglect claim.
Call our lawyers today to find out if you are eligible to obtain compensation when you or your loved one is abused or neglected by a caregiver. Call Alonso Krangle, LLP at 800-403-6191, to schedule a free evaluation of your nursing home abuse claim.