Since the coronavirus pandemic began in earlier 2020, Ohio and other states have banned visitors at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Preventing the virus spreading to high-risk populations is a good reason to stop visitations, but the visitor restrictions are alarming for those that would like to check in on their loved ones.
In previous posts, we have covered how to spot physical abuse and mental abuse, but this requires regular in-person contact to check-in on the resident. Current legislation, called “Ester’s Law” is being proposed in Ohio to allow the use of hidden cameras in nursing homes, which could help.
Since family members and friends cannot visit, there is currently no accountability to make sure your loved one is safe. However, you can still call your loved one daily, visit through video conferencing software, and communicate with the staff on a regular basis. Moreover, now—more than ever—it is important for families to maintain strong relationships with staff who can provide updates in between telephone or video conference.
The situation is urgent, given the unique vulnerabilities of nursing home residents in the Covid-19 environment. According to recently released data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, nearly 30,000 US nursing home deaths have been related to Covid-19. This is nearly twenty-five percent of all Covid-19 deaths in the US. And the numbers may be understated, as the federal reporting requirements do not require nursing homes to include infections and deaths that occurred prior to May 2, 2020.
If your loved one resides in a nursing home, and you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, please contact us for further information.