Third Spike of COVID Means Endless Isolation for Nursing Home Residents
The precautions required by the COVID pandemic have taken a toll on all of us. We are all ready for the end of virtual school lessons, uncomfortable masks, and the smell of cheap hand sanitizer. Many have been clamoring to reopen bars and sports stadiums, and with the holidays approaching, families are already planning to throw caution to the wind to travel so they can huddle with relatives. Amid all these calls for a premature return to normal, it is important to remember that most of the residents of nursing homes have gone eight long months without interacting with a single friend or loved one, and there is no end in sight.
When cases spiked for the first time in the COVID pandemic, the nation took unprecedented steps, including wearing masks, hand-washing, and the near shut down of our economy and social lives. No segment of society was hit harder than nursing homes, with an estimated 68,000 deaths and counting according to the New York Times. While many of us wonder when we’ll be able to attend a concert or watch our children compete in sports, the residents of nursing homes are waiting for the first time they’ll see or embrace a loved one.
Isolation can be fatal
The loneliness is not only crippling, it can be fatal. According to the AARP:
“Isolation and loneliness are associated with a 50 percent increased risk of developing dementia, a 32 percent increased risk of stroke, and a nearly fourfold increased risk of death among heart failure patients, according to separate studies.”
Sadly, the nation seems to be preparing for life after COVID, despite the fact that the pandemic shows no sign of retreating. Our original pandemic response, an unprecedented shutdown of schools and businesses and restrictions on gathering occurred when we were horrified by 32,000 cases per day, back in March. On October 16, the CDC reported more than 63,000 new cases. Yet, schools and businesses reopen, as the national collective will to beat the virus slowly fades into surrender.
Meanwhile, the residents at nursing homes wait and wait. Visitation restrictions were imposed in March by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to prevent the deadly spread that occurred at so many long-term care facilities. The plan was to ease visitation restrictions as their respective state populations hit targets that demonstrated control of the virus. Many assumed it would be a couple of months. That early optimism has turned into 8 months of isolation and counting for many nursing homes, as COVID continues to wreak havoc in the communities where they are located.
The federal government’s feckless response to the pandemic left the burden to individual states. In the states that had the political leadership to take on the virus, there have been varying levels of successes in containing the virus despite the lack of national coordination or support needed to adequately test, track, and isolate infected individuals. As a result, state leaders are gradually giving into public pressure to restore essential and nonessential gatherings just when the flu season is beginning in earnest. It is a formula for a devastating third wave of COVID in the U.S. and an extension to the long lonely suffering of our nation’s nursing home residents.
Our attorneys at Brown & Barron, LLC focus on representing nursing home residents who have been neglected or abused. We know first-hand how these facilities function, and just how vulnerable residents are to injuries. If you believe you or a family member has suffered as a result of nursing home negligence, we invite you to contact our team as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and options.
If you believe you or a family member has suffered as a result of nursing home negligence, we invite you to contact our team as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and options. To contact our team, call 410-213-3242 today for a consultation.
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