The coronavirus pandemic has severely taxed the healthcare system, and nursing homes especially have borne much of the harm caused by COVID-19. However, as bad as the situation might be in nursing homes right now, there is another lingering threat to residents they should be concerned about: nursing home neglect and abuse. And unfortunately, the COVID crisis may make it harder than ever to hold nursing homes accountable for these abuses.
The coronavirus is the greatest healthcare crisis to face the United States in over a century, and healthcare providers have been struggling to deal with the problems caused by the pandemic. Medical facilities of all types have struggled to maintain sufficient resources and personnel to care for all the infected, with nursing homes particularly hard hit by the disease. The problem is even worse in New York City, which was the largest hotspot for coronavirus infections in the country until recently. It is estimated that as many as a third of all COVID-19 deaths were nursing home residents and staff, often spreading in facilities that have been previously cited for violations of infection control protocols.
However, there is another side effect of COVID-19: namely, the increased risk of nursing home abuse and neglect. Due to quarantine procedures, residents have been unable to see their loved ones through the pandemic, and, at least in New York, nursing homes were given broad protections from liability for harm caused by negligence during the crisis. Combine this with the increased stress and shortages from the pandemic, and you have a recipe for potential disaster.
As COVID-related quarantine restrictions begin to ease and family members are once again able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes, they should be on the lookout for telltale signs of abuse and neglect. Unexplained weight loss is a common issue in such cases, as are unexplained bruises or other injuries (which are often a result of residents falling out of bed or falling while trying to walk somewhere unaccompanied). Bed sores are also a surefire red flag, as they are caused by being left in one position for too long and can be exacerbated by malnutrition, dehydration, and poor hygiene.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness due to the negligent conduct of a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s important to get the legal representation you need to remedy the situation and get compensation for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC are experienced in representing New York City and Long Island residents in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. To schedule a free consultation, contact our New York City nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at (212) 687-2777 or for our Long Island nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers call (516) 294-8282.