As a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN trusts, I’ve seen firsthand that nursing home abuse is much more prevalent than we’d like to think. It is, in fact, distressingly common.

According to the advocacy group Nursing Home Abuse Justice, as many as 5,000,000 seniors are abused worldwide each year. According to some studies, 1 in 10 seniors over the age of 60 has been abused, or up to 24.3% of nursing home residents. Of course, the real number is likely much higher due to underreporting; many victims do not report their abuse, in some cases because they are physically unable to do so. Some studies estimate that for every five cases of abuse, at least one goes unreported.

Nursing home abuse takes different forms, including the following.

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Sexual abuse or molestation
  • Financial exploitation or fraud

Any form of nursing home abuse is a serious threat to a senior’s well-being. Abused elders face a 300% higher risk of death in the years following their abuse in contrast to those who were not victims of mistreatment.

The coronavirus pandemic has put seniors at nursing homes in an even more vulnerable position.

Preventing nursing home abuse requires family members to keep a close eye on their loved ones who are at assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic—which killed 13 residents at a nursing home in Washington state—has restricted visitation and lessened oversight at these facilities. We have to remain vigilant during this critical time.

In fact, a new threat has surfaced during this unsettling moment. Nursing homes now have a responsibility to take precautions to keep their residents safe from COVID-19. Because of less frequent visitation, it is increasingly difficult to monitor the situation.

A recent New York Times article offers a great primer for concerned loved ones. Here are quick tips for protecting your family members who live in nursing homes.

Research the facility.

Understaffing plays a critical role in almost all cases of nursing home abuse. Coronavirus-related abuse is no different. Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare tool lists every Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing home in America, ranking them by staffing levels, health inspections, and other criteria. Scan the staffing levels to spot any immediate red flags.

Visit frequently if possible.

Spending time in person at a nursing home will allow you to easily see if basic protocols are being observed. Check for regular hand washing and sanitation. Raise your concerns with an administrator if needed.

Considering taking your loved one out? Make sure to have a plan.

Nothing is more precious than our family member’s lives. Your intuition is invaluable. That said, different residents require more intensive care than others. If you are considering moving your loved one into another situation, make sure to consider all logistical and care needs. Charlene Harrington, a former UCSF professor who studies nursing homes says the best thing to do is to visit often and remain vigilant. “I think the best the families can do is to visit them as often as possible, and make sure there’s hand washing going on,” she told the Times.

Get help from a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN trusts.

If your loved one has been abused or neglected in an elder care situation, you can do something about it. As a trusted nursing home lawyer Memphis TN relies on for their elder abuse cases, I’ve helped many families get justice. I can do the same for yours.

Call (901) 327-2100 today.