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The High Risk of Nursing Home Abuse When No One is Watching

May 2, 2020

From pandemics to safety concerns, and even threats phoned in from unknown sources. There are numerous reasons for nursing homes to shut their doors to visitors, and it makes people nervous. But, in truth, they shut their doors to visitors every night. You and your family don’t know what goes on in the home after you leave. 

It’s something taunting family members, that possibility that there’s something going terribly wrong. Then when you find out that the thing actually happened, it could haunt you and others for months or years. The only relief is taking action to ensure that there’s justice brought against the abuser. The legal team at Connell Law in Columbia understands that regardless of any reason for limited contact, you need support

COVID-19 and Other Lockdown Situations 

Just like schools and hospitals, there are plenty of reasons that a nursing home could have to go on lockdown. A lockdown could happen because of a virus such as COVID-19, which would lead to a long-term closure for visitors. From shooting threats to flu epidemics and all variety of odd situations in-between, this shut down is not the first. 

Many family members are worrying that there’s nothing more that they can do in the way of helping their elders. But honestly, COVID-19 is not the first time that nearly any nursing home has gone on lockdown. Typically the lockdowns are for a few hours or days. During a bad flu epidemic in 2018, nursing homes voluntarily closed off access to visitors. 

The reason that nursing homes are so quick to shut down is that they have a high-risk population. COVID-19 and other viruses often put the elderly at risk. It’s likely that you have been closed off, or others were closed off from their loved ones previously. 

Who Must Report Abuse?

Now, abuse does happen all too frequently. The result of abuse can be death from infection, injury, or even outright neglect. But, shouldn’t there be a ton of people reporting these cases of abuse? Yes, there should be. 

The people required to report abuse when they spot it, include all medical staff, doctors outside the nursing home, and administrators. What should happen when they don’t report? Not reporting is the reason why so many families end up suing the facility and the individual abuser. Failing to report is nearly as serious as the abuse itself. 

The people who must report abuse received training on how to identify the signs. From things such as broken bones, which would raise obvious questions, to withdrawing socially. There is no one-stop red flag. Instead, there are countless red flags, and they should all be reported. 

How Can You Spot Abuse from a Distance?

Because we live in the days of FaceTime and Skype, you should expect to have some contact with your elderly family members. Watch for signs that they’re more reclusive than usual, maybe they don’t even want to speak with you. Trauma at an older age can hit harder than during the vibrant adult years.

Signs of depression, as well as physically apparent signs such as bruising, deserve attention and reporting. If you have any suspicions, it’s always worth having the authorities look into the environment and start an investigation. It’s not extraordinarily unrealistic as many agencies exist for this reason. 

If you suspect elderly abuse within a nursing home, then you can contact Adult Protective Services. You can also contact local police to get more information on the correct offices to report to. The easiest way to reach Adult Protective Services is to dial 211.  

Getting Help for Nursing Home Abuse with A Nursing Home Abuse Attorney 

It’s troublesome to be away from the people you love most, who have helped raise you. It is possible that your parent, grandparent, or guardian in your life is now alone in a nursing home. It may be even worse to consider that they could be alone with their abuser. All too often, people worry that when they are cut off from communication or contact that there’s something unsavory going on. After all, the door doesn’t close for any old reason. 

The elderly person in your family deserves the full-scope of support that they have available to them. But, you might need to reach outside of your immediate network to take action. When you get in touch with Connell Law, you can take that first big step toward holding the abuser accountable.