A New York Times article recently reported on October 31, 2020 of a new “slow killer” threatening the lives of residents in U.S. nursing homes: isolation. Since the start of the pandemic and lockdowns back in March of this year, prolonged isolation has been a necessary solution for protecting nursing home residents, who were quickly becoming victims as COVID-19 spread rampantly throughout long-term care facilities. But now, after months of solitude, families are finding their loved ones slowly deteriorating both mentally and physically. This effect has been prominent in patients fighting dementia and Alzheimer’s.
According to a special report from October 2020 on the “Experiences of Nursing Home Residents during the Pandemic,” a little more than half of 365 residents reported that they no longer leave their room to socialize and 76% reported feeling lonelier than usual.
While there have been so many creative suggestions for ways to interact with loved ones in nursing homes, none compare to the physical touch of family members and seeing them in-person. Technology, such as Zoom and other video-conferencing platforms, have been widely used to communicate safely among most of society; but when it comes to nursing home patients, many struggle to use these sources, adding further to an increased sense of frustration and loneliness. At the same time, there is the question of how nursing homes can safely allow in-person visits without the risks of virus cases spiraling out of control again. While this is a fine line that must be taken into consideration, nursing homes are still to be held accountable for the health and care of their residents.
It was reported that several families have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against facilities such as Life Care Centers of America, who have been found by federal and state regulators of violating regulations; but many cases have been dismissed due to a lack of evidence that these violations contributed to jeopardizing the health and care of residents.
GLP Attorneys represents three residents of Life Care Center of Kirkland who contracted COVID-19. We are experts when it comes to fighting cases like these and have an entire Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse practice area team ready to defend your loved one. If you believe your family member in a nursing home is being neglected or abused, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced attorneys to take a look at your case.