During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen multiple stories about outbreaks at nursing homes, resulting in the preventable deaths of its elderly residents. Nursing home staff members may continue to come into work while sick, facilities can fail to follow important precautions, and visitors may continue to enter and exit the building.
All of these dangerous activities can spread the transmission of the virus. Elderly residents may also be susceptible to financial scams surrounding COVID-19, as well as declining mental health due to isolation.
If you have a loved one residing in a nursing home during this time, our personal injury lawyers recommend you take several actions to keep your family member safe.
#1: Research Nursing Home Facilities
Before you and your loved one decide on a nursing home to live, you should research the facility thoroughly. A history of nursing home abuse or neglect, unsanitary facilities, and unprofessional staff members are major warning signs — if a facility cannot handle its usual activities, it likely is not prepared to handle a global pandemic.
Many watchdog websites are available to research a potential facility. ProPublica offers reports on nursing homes across the country. In addition, The Washington Post published a list of nursing homes with confirmed coronavirus cases.
#2: Check Public Health Websites
Government public health resources are crucial during this pandemic, especially since we do not fully understand the full extent of the virus yet. Visiting these websites regularly will help you gain important, new information in a timely manner, which you can pass on to your loved one.
Some credible resources include the following:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the most timely information on COVID-19 for the public.
- The National Institutes of Health provide information on the latest research surrounding COVID-19 and its symptoms, transmission, and long-term impacts.
- The National Institute on Aging provides information on COVID-19 specifically for elderly adults. Its website includes tips on how to stay safe, how to cope with the impacts of the virus, and
#3: Learn How to Avoid Scams
COVID-19-related scams are becoming increasingly more prevalent across the United States, and elderly individuals are often the target of these activities. The Federal Trade Commission offers online resources on how to identify and avoid common COVID-19 scams, including the following.
- Fake contact tracers who ask for financial or personal information instead of health information
- Offers for fraudulent at-home testing kits, vaccines, and COVID-19 treatments
- Advertisements for test kits not approved by the Food and Drug Administration
- Emails, calls, and texts about stimulus checks
- Emails claiming to be from the CDC or the World Health Organization (WHO)
#4: Telecommunicate Regularly
Elderly residents in isolation can experience declining mental health due to a lack of social connection. Some residents may want to break quarantine or social distancing rules to reconnect with the outside world, which may expose them to the virus.
If you have a loved one in a care facility, telecommunicate with him or her regularly and encourage your family members to do the same. The Administration for Community Living provides a number of resources and tips elderly adults can use to improve their mental health during this time, such as activity guides and technology tips.
Staying Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Nursing homes have a responsibility to keep their residents safe, especially during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. While these tips may keep your loved ones safe, nursing home staff may still commit acts of negligence that can lead to the transmission of this virus.
Do You Believe Your Loved One May Be Experiencing Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Kansas City, Missouri?
If you feel your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect you should speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 816.832.4688 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve Kansas City, Missouri, and the surrounding area and look forward to speaking with you.