The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted people of all ages, but those who are 65 years or older have remained particularly vulnerable. Across the country, nursing homes have struggled to combat the virus. As of April 28, 2020, the Washington State Department of Health reported a total of 786 COVID-19 related deaths and 13,842 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Additionally, six states have reported that deaths occurring in long-term care facilities make up over 50 percent of all COVID-19 related deaths. If you or your loved one currently resides in a long-term care facility, or you want to know how the current outbreak could impact your elder law case, let’s take a closer look at what legal experts are advising during this unprecedented time.
Restrictions May Contribute to Isolation
In response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, especially in long-term care facilities and nursing homes, facilities are implementing a variety of strategies to temporarily limit or cease visitations to residents. Communal areas, such as dining halls and common rooms, may be closed, as residents are encouraged to remain in their apartments or rooms in isolation to prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, many seniors and long-term care facility residents may feel particularly lonely, as they are no longer able to visit with one another or see their loved ones face-to-face. Whether you are a resident or your loved one is in a care facility right now, it’s essential to check in with friends and family frequently via phone or videoconference.
Increased Isolation Could See a Rise in Elder Abuse
Unfortunately, with visitations suspended and residents cooped up alone in their rooms, incidents involving neglect or elder abuse could happen more easily or frequently. Without oversight, some residents may find themselves left alone or unattended for extended periods of time, leading to medical complications or mental health issues. Additionally, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) encourages loved ones to call the center as often as possible so that they can keep in touch with a beloved family member or friend. Staff members may be more hesitant to provide necessary care out of fear of exposing themselves to the virus, so some residents may be prevented from receiving the treatments they need. If you suspect that you or your loved one may be the victim of elder abuse, contact local authorities and a dedicated elder law attorney in your area as soon as possible.
Here to Help
Now more than ever, the dedicated elder law attorneys at Legacy Law Group are committed to protecting Spokane Valley residents and their families. Call (509) 315-8087 today to schedule a consultation with a dedicated and compassionate elder law attorney.