Nursing Home Residents Suffer Serious Harm
As an experienced, serious injury lawyer in Medford, OR – including those who practice at Andersen Morse & Linthorst – can confirm, the Covid-19 pandemic broadly exposed an unthinkable reality of the American healthcare system: Nursing home residents and residents of other long-term care facilities suffer abuse and neglect at unfathomable rates.
Tragically, the desperate and widespread need for care among nursing home residents, especially early in the pandemic, went unmet far too often. Although the staffing shortages that contributed to this medical neglect we’re certainly influenced by the realities of the pandemic, staffing shortages and other aspects of nursing home culture contribute to abuse and neglect rates that are truly incredible even during times not marked by a global pandemic that affects the elderly more significantly than any other population.
What Loved Ones Can Do
It can be understandably easy to feel powerless when you have a loved one who resides in a nursing home and you know that this means but no matter how reputable the facility may be, your loved one is at risk of being abused or neglected. It can be especially difficult to feel empowered to help your loved one live their best life when the signs of abuse and neglect are so often interchangeable with symptoms of other medical challenges and circumstances. For example, your loved one may not be showing up to any social functions at their nursing home, despite the fact that they have been previously known as a social butterfly. Social isolation is often a sign that someone is suffering as a result of abuse or neglect. However, your loved one might be socially isolating because they are grieving a loss, processing their advancing age, or simply undergoing a period of creativity that benefits from a great deal of alone time.
What then, is a loved one to do when it is so difficult to know whether someone is suffering, especially because even those residents who are ordinarily capable of advocating on their own behalf may be hesitant to speak up out of fear of retaliation, burdening their loved ones, or shame? This is one aspect of life in which your gut feelings can play a vital role in protecting someone’s interests. If something feels like it is truly wrong to you, speak with an attorney about your concerns even if you cannot substantiate them with any evidence yet. Speaking up now and allowing an attorney to discreetly uncover the truth may mean the difference between suffering and salvation.