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Nursing Home Abuse in the Age of COVID-19


Just because the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in significant attention to infection-control measures and resident or patient deaths caused by the coronavirus, it is critical to keep in mind that other forms of nursing home abuse can still occur. Nursing home neglect, physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, and other forms of elder abuse in nursing homes can lead to resident and patient injuries during the pandemic. In fact, nursing home residents could be at greater risk of suffering injuries that are not linked to the pandemic since so many elder safety advocates are focused on the effects of COVID-19 in the nursing home setting.

Although you may not be able to visit a loved one in a nursing home during the COVID-19 emergency due to infection risk, it is important to speak with your elderly loved one in a nursing home about any abuse or neglect concerns, and to be able to identify potential signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. The following are warning signs from U.S. News & World Report to consider.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Whether you are speaking to an elderly loved one over the phone or you are visiting in person, it is important to be aware of the following signs and symptoms of nursing home abuse:

● Physical or emotional changes in your loved one: If your elderly relative shows any physical or emotional changes, you should investigate further. For example, if a senior has stopped participating in a regular activity, or is significantly less communicative on the phone than usual, nursing home abuse or neglect could be the cause. However, you should not assume that abuse is certain. Instead, you should seek advice from a nursing home abuse lawyer in New York about options for looking into your loved one’s safety and care.

● Deflected or unanswered questions from the facility: If you ask a staff member at a nursing home about why your elderly loved one is less responsive, or why they are losing weight, or how they are being treated for an infection, you should be able to get an answer. As the U.S. News & World Report article emphasizes, a staff member promising to look into your question is not necessarily a problem—seeking and getting an answer at a later date can be responsible. However, if you never get an answer to the question, or if your inquiry is met with deflection, you should seek help.

● Frenzied staff members: Many injuries that result from nursing home neglect occur because of understaffing at a facility. Frenzied staff can be a sign that there are not enough people at the facility to handle daily tasks appropriately.

Filing a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in New York

If you have concerns about an elderly loved one and believe their injuries may have resulted from nursing home abuse or neglect, it is important to seek advice from an experienced New York nursing home abuse attorney about filing a lawsuit. The nursing home itself, as well as one or more of the staff members, may be liable for a resident’s injuries. Even when an employee engages in intentional acts of abuse or neglect, the nursing home facility has a responsibility. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC today for more information about filing a nursing home abuse claim.

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