The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively cut nursing home residents off from the rest of the world in many places throughout our country. This has increased isolation, and decreased accountability. In many homes, it’s now known that instances of abuse and neglect went unreported and seniors were hurt as a result. This is a sad situation, and was completely preventable, even with COVID safeguard in place.
Even before the COVID crisis had begun, many care homes had been having difficulty finding enough qualified employees to help. When a nursing home or assisted living facility does not have enough staff on hand to meet the needs of all of the residents, then there is a higher likelihood that something can happen. There are fewer checks and balances in place to ensure that needs are met, corners are more likely to be cut as staff become overworked and exhausted, and mistakes with things like dietary needs and medications are more likely to happen. This typically isn’t the fault of just one person, but it is a collective failure. During times like what we’ve recently been experiencing with the coronavirus pandemic, this failure has just become more noticeable.
Awareness is the first step to fighting for our loved ones. If we know that the potential for elder abuse is out there, we can be more proactive about preventing it. We can be more active when it comes to protecting the people that we love, regardless of where they live.
Yes, you can help to prevent the abuse of a loved one even if they reside in a home that is a considerable distance from where you live. Here are a couple pointers to help you get started.
If you’re unsure of where to start, be sure to speak with the ombudsman of the home where your loved one lives. This individual (or group, in some cases) is tasked with the advocacy of the rights and safety of the individuals that live within a nursing home. These people typically work within facilities that use public funds for treatment (like Medicare and Medicaid), but you can often find them in privately funded facilities, too. They are on the front lines day after day fighting for the rights of residents.
Improved communication with your older family member can also help. This will make sure that you are receiving updates on how things are going and any concerns can be brought to the light much more quickly. It’s not foolproof, but it does open up more doors for safety.
If you have questions about how you can keep a loved one safer, be sure to reach out to someone in the administration department of wherever they might reside. And if you have questions about how safe care can be applied in a setting like your own home, please feel free to reach out to us. This is what we do, and we have a strong history of keeping the people that we work for safe and healthy. We’d love to talk with you about how we can help you and your family accomplish this, too.