As Nursing Homes Reopen For Visitors, Be Alert to Signs of Neglect and Abuse
Concerns over COVID-19 have kept people with loved ones in nursing homes from having in-person visits. Many families have had to content themselves with phone calls, online meetings, and visits through windows at the facility. As the number of cases has declined recently, nursing homes have begun easing restrictions. Our Bronx & Westchester estate planning attorneys urge you to use upcoming in-person visits to assess your loved ones’ health and whether they are getting the quality of care they need.
Warning Signs To Be Alert For When Visiting Nursing Home Residents
In July of 2020, the New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA) and Center for Assisted Living (NYSCAL) announced that they would begin lifting restrictions on nursing home visits, provided certain requirements were met. In addition to standards regarding the use of masks, social distancing, and disinfecting of surfaces, facilities had to have no new cases of COVID-19 for 28 days. Many facilities are just now able to meet this last requirement as other states begin easing their nursing home restrictions as well.
In the excitement of seeing loved ones in person again, it is important to take time to assess their health and well-being. Rather than simply asking questions, in-person visits allow you to see for yourself how they are and how the nursing home is being run. Warning signs to be alert for include:
- Your loved one has unexplained bruises or other injuries;
- They appear unkempt;
- They have suffered general declines in overall physical or mental health;
- They tend to isolate or appear overly fearful, nervous, or depressed;
- They avoid making eye contact with certain caregivers;
- The nursing home staff appears hostile, nervous, or overwhelmed;
- The facility itself appears run-down or inadequately cleaned and maintained.
Steps To Ensure Loved Ones Get the Nursing Home Care They Need
All of the above are signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. According to the National Council on Aging, roughly one out of ten older adults report being victimized each year. Sadly, many cases go unreported due to the victim feeling fearful or ashamed.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, it is important to take immediate action. Steps to ensure your loved one gets the care they need include:
- Ask to speak with the nursing home administrator right away;
- Request a change in their caregiver as needed;
- Notify law enforcement of any signs of physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse;
- Make arrangements for them to receive care at home or at another facility.
Nursing Home Compare allows you to check ratings for nursing homes throughout the country. See how the facility your loved one is in ranks and look up any other nursing homes you may be considering.
Contact Us Today for Help
At Cavallo & Cavallo, we help families ensure their loved ones get the quality of care they need. To request a consultation in our Bronx or Westchester office, contact our New York Medicaid and nursing home attorneys today.