Prior to the start of 2020, nobody was considering the ways in which a global pandemic could impact a senior’s risk of suffering injuries as a result of nursing home abuse and neglect. Yet the coronavirus pandemic has, for many older adults, made things worse. According to a recent article in MarketWatch, the pandemic has meant that “many older adults have become more vulnerable” and are suffering harm that otherwise could have been prevented.
Whether you currently live in a nursing home in San Bernardino County or have an elderly loved one in a skilled nursing facility in Southern California, it is essential to learn more about elder abuse risks during the pandemic and what can be done to mitigate them.
Facilities Refusing to Allow Residents to Reenter
One of the ways in which the pandemic has made older adults more vulnerable is that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities where they reside are refusing, in some cases, to allow them to reenter out of fear of coronavirus exposure. For example, the article cites situations in which seniors left facilities to visit family members and were denied reentry. Some facilities have demanded patients or residents test negative for COVID-19 prior to reentry, but have not provided tests nor options in the event of a positive test.
In most cases like these, residents have a right to their homes, which can include nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, but it may take legal action to prove it.
Isolation is Leading to More Elder Abuse
According to Duke Han, an elder abuse researcher at the University of Southern California, isolation is also resulting in more elder abuse claims going unreported and more incidents of abuse on the whole. Indeed, as Han explains, California and other states have seen a “massive increase in reports of elder abuse during the pandemic.”
Many seniors, according to the MarketWatch article, are not seeing family members and do not have options for talking about abuse concerns. At the same time, family members are not visiting elderly family members in nursing homes, and as a result those family members are not around to recognize signs and symptoms of abuse. And even when seniors do want to report abuse, many fear that making a report will only make things worse in the facility since, as a result of the pandemic, they do not have another place to go.
Contact a San Bernardino County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you are worried about an elderly loved one’s safety, or if you need assistance filing a nursing home abuse claim in Southern California, an experienced and compassionate San Bernardino nursing home abuse lawyer at our firm can talk with you today about your case. We can discuss your options for moving forward with a claim and how to help keep your elderly parents safe. Even during the coronavirus emergency, seniors in California nursing homes have rights. Contact the Walton Law Firm to learn more about the services we provide to older adults and their families.
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