Due to devastating COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes around the nation, in addition to an alarming rise in instances of elder abuse and neglect, people are examining alternative methods of care other than nursing homes for elderly and disabled adult care.
Learn why Alabamans are considering alternatives to nursing home care and how a nursing home abuse lawyer from Sawyer Law Firm can help if your loved one is harmed in a nursing home.
The Pandemic’s Effect on Nursing Home Care
In 2020, U.S. nursing home residents were one of the most vulnerable populations to COVID-19. Elderly residents, who were already at risk due to their age and health conditions, became even more vulnerable when the media began reporting on abandoned nursing home cases where residents were neglected and left to die.
The circumstances surrounding the pandemic have caused people to question whether nursing home care is right for their loved ones. The idea that an elderly family member could be trapped in a nursing home during a lockdown, away from loved ones who could check on their wellbeing, did not sit right with many Alabamans.
Many people had also previously experienced the abuse or neglect of a loved one in a nursing home. The isolation of COVID-19 lockdowns and the pandemic’s effect on already struggling nursing home staff worried those with loved ones in nursing home facilities.
Common Issues in Nursing Home Care
Up to 5 million elderly people are abused or neglected in nursing homes annually. One of the major contributing factors to elder abuse and neglect is that nursing homes are understaffed, and the staff they do employ is undertrained. Many nursing homes in the United States run on an under-qualified skeleton crew, a problem that has been made worse by the pandemic.
Due to staff who are overworked, undertrained, and in some cases, actively malicious, the elderly suffer horrendous abuse in isolated nursing homes. Common types of neglect and abuse include:
Physical abuse includes any instance where a staff member intentionally causes pain or injury to a resident. Physical abuse manifests as fractures, burns, bruises, cuts, dislocations, and internal injuries.
Emotional abuse is the use of psychological methods to induce fear, anguish, distress, and anxiety in patients. Staff may bully, harass, coerce, yell, humiliate, isolate, and intimidate nursing home residents.
Often overlooked, financial exploitation also occurs in nursing homes. Patients’ belongings may be stolen, or staff might access their financial assets for personal gain.
Sexual abuse involves nonconsensual sexual conduct between the elderly resident and perpetrator. This includes sexual assault, rape, exploitation, and exhibitionism.
Neglect is a type of abuse; however, neglect is the failure to provide adequate care rather than actively harming an elderly person. Neglect can be unintentional, but the result is the same for the victim, whether the neglect is malicious or accidental.
Neglect includes denying the patient water, food, clean bedding or clothing, basic hygiene, comfort, safety, and failure to provide proper medical care and medication.
Alternatives to Nursing Home Care
When it comes to alternatives to nursing home care, Alabamans have a few options.
Assisted living is appropriate for the elderly who need some level of care but can still function well independently. These facilities often provide residents with their own room or apartment. However, the staff helps them with daily tasks such as cooking, bathing, and providing medical care. Some of these facilities have a small staff to resident ratio, ensuring your loved one is well-cared for. It’s still advised that those considering assisted living facilities do their research to assess the quality of care provided.
Medicare PACE Programs
This program is for Medicare beneficiaries and offers services to the elderly that allow them to remain in their homes or with family.
Medicaid HCBS Waivers
Similar to the Medicare PACE program, the Medicaid HCBS waivers allow those who would otherwise be transferred to nursing home care the ability to stay with family or at home and receive a variety of services.
Adult Foster Care
Adult foster care opportunities offer citizens the opportunity to live in private residences with a small group of other residents where they share meals and assistance.
Private Home Care
Some families who have the means to hire private medical personnel or care for their loved ones can keep their relatives at home. In the wake of COVID, this option, which many would previously not consider due to the higher cost, is becoming more relevant.
Call for a Free Consultation
If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact Sawyer Law Firm today for a free consultation. Our nursing home abuse lawyers will review the facts of your case and determine the best legal strategy moving forward.
Our goal is to gain your loved one compensation for their treatment at the hands of nursing home staff to give you some measure of comfort in a devastating situation. Reach out online or call our law office today to set up an appointment.