Coronavirus Elevates Threat of Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Attorney Tad Thomas | 888-981-0031 | Free Consult

“The most important thing isn’t the legal process. The most important thing is protecting that loved one immediately.”

Elderly residents of nursing homes face an elevated risk of health complications from the coronavirus. They are also at a higher risk of another threat: elder abuse at the hands of nursing home staff. Current lockdown measures prevent visitors from laying eyes on their loved ones, so it’s unfortunately quite possible that residents could be suffering from elder abuse in these care facilities which might be difficult to detect from the outside.

Tad Thomas is an attorney with Thomas Law Offices based in Louisville, Kentucky. He opened the firm in 2011 and assists clients in Louisville, Kentucky; Chicago, Illinois; and Cincinnati, Ohio. Thomas recommends speaking to an attorney if you suspect that your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect in a nursing home.

To learn more, contact the attorney directly by calling 888-981-0031 or by submitting a contact form on this page. There is no charge for the consultation, and you never owe any out-of-pocket attorney fees.

Key Takeaways From Tad Thomas:

Many senior citizens are already facing health concerns on an individual basis as well as through added risk of common communicable diseases within nursing homes. An additional and rarely discussed risk within nursing homes is elder abuse.

It is likely that instances of elder abuse will increase during the coronavirus pandemic.

Allowing frequent and daily visitors to enter a nursing home provides for a certain level of accountability from the nursing home staff. When visitors were able to enter freely, they could detect evidence of abuse or neglect with their own eyes. However, with the visitation restrictions currently in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, this level of accountability is not currently in place. Not to mention the extra level of care that visiting family members provide.

There are specific warning signs to look for that could indicate elder abuse/neglect.

While it may currently be difficult to look for these signs of abuse due to an inability to visit in person, nursing home staff at the very least should be helping their residents set up phone and video calls with their loved ones outside the facility. Common signs of elder abuse/neglect include unexplained bruising, gangrene, broken bones, dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores, and/or unexplainable changes in behavior or mood.

If your loved one’s nursing home is not allowing or helping them contact you on a regular basis, report the oversight to nursing home management and/or the ombudsman.

It’s important to call your loved one and speak to their caregivers in a nursing home every single day to stay in touch with their emotional wellbeing and physical treatment. If you are able to send in a phone specifically dedicated to communicating with your loved one during the coronavirus pandemic, do so.

In addition to contacting a lawyer, you can contact your state’s department in charge of investigating elder abuse.

While inspections are currently halted due to the pandemic, it’s still wise to file a complaint about that nursing home. If the state receives enough complaints about a specific center, it will eventually have to take action. Thomas recommends that loved ones who suspect elder abuse first report the issue to their state, and then to seek the advice of a lawyer.

Nursing homes are often understaffed, resulting in employee burnout and lack of care which can further inspire employees to abuse residents.

Nursing home management has a legal obligation to prevent understaffing and burnout with employees, as well as to provide adequate safety protocols to prevent abuse. Thomas predicts that when the visitation restrictions are lifted from nursing homes, more unfortunate instances of abuse are going to come to light.

Reputable personal injury attorneys work on contingency, which means you don’t pay unless they win.

From the initial consultation through the actual trial proceedings, you will not owe your attorney anything in attorney fees if they decide to take your case until they win. Any reputable personal injury law firm abides by this contingency rule, and will even front all case expenses so you can focus on taking care of your loved one and obtaining the help you need to ensure their safety.

To learn more, contact Tad Thomas directly by calling 888-981-0031 or by submitting a contact form on this page. There is no charge for the consultation, and you never owe any out-of-pocket attorney fees.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

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