Across the nation, residents of nursing homes have been especially hard hit by the spread of COVID-19. In addition to the health concerns brought on by the pandemic, access to the facilities has been restricted, keeping residents apart from family members.
With reports of nursing home abuse down, there is concern that abuse is going unchecked and unreported.
Carole Herman, the founder and president of the Foundation Aiding the Elderly (FATE), said the separation of residents from their loved ones has interrupted an important means of communication.
Eyes and ears
“I always think the family members that go in to take care of their family members (in nursing homes) are the eyes and ears of the patient,” she said. “They’re going to see what’s going on first-handed. Now that they’re being denied access, it’s very scary.”
A 73-year-old nursing home resident said the pandemic lockdown resulted in a nightmare of abuse for her. She and her 82-year-old husband allege that since she suffered a stroke four months ago, she developed a colon infection that was caused by being left to sit in her own feces.
“I’m not one to ask for a lot of things, but when you’re crying tears because you’re laying in your own poop or urine,” the woman said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
She and her husband declined to be identified by the news source out of fear that she could suffer retaliation.
However, they allege that the infection would have been prevented by better care and that the abuse would have been detected had her husband been allowed to visit.
A spokesperson for the facility said that while they can’t address the allegations specifically because of patient confidentiality rules, no complaints of abuse or neglect have been filed.