Suspect nursing home elder abuse or neglect during COVID-19?

Though some nursing homes in Virginia remain closed to visitors due to COVID-19, others have begun the slow process of phased openings. People who haven’t seen their loved ones in months will be delighted at reuniting. Inevitably however, some may witness deteriorating conditions not only at the facility, but with their own family members.

hugging elderly grandmother at a nursing home

Without loved ones visiting the facilities, nursing homes have been operating behind closed doors for quite some time, and with less oversight. While COVID-19 made it necessary to limit outsiders to their vulnerable population, the relative privacy nursing homes have experienced could have exacerbated preexisting issues within the facility. And unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a common issue in our society. In fact, Virginia has the second highest rate of nursing home deaths in the United States.

If you have returned to a nursing home and suspect abuse or neglect, it helps to know the signs.

Holding hands with an elderly person

Signs of abuse or neglect in the elderly:

  • Weight loss
  • Bruising
  • Skin breakdown (such as bed sores)
  • Change in temperament
  • Acting withdrawn or frightened
  • Dehydration
  • Poor hygiene
  • Disheveled appearance

If you suspect that a loved one has been or is being abused, document that abuse to the director of nursing or the facility administrator, and put it in writing along with a date. Be sure to follow up to ensure that the change has taken place. If you feel your concerns are not being taken seriously, resources like Adult Protective Services, the Department of Health, or an Ombudsman Program in your area can help.

At Allen & Allen, we have extensive experience working with families regarding nursing home abuse and neglect. We know every case is different, but all are similar in how they can put stress on a family. Choosing an experienced attorney matters, and we are here to help. If you suspect elderly abuse or neglect, call us at 866-388-1307.