CoronavirusNursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Combating fear in nursing homes during the coronavirus lockdown

By April 3, 2020May 26th, 2020No Comments

The presence of Covid-19, better known as “coronavirus”, in a nursing home or assisted living facility is simply horrifying for every resident and family member of a resident. It’s also horrifying for the staff as they are tasked with treating, protecting, and caring for the residents.

Unfortunately, the spread of this horrible virus is making its way across the country and residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are among the most threatened by this deadly virus. There are numerous issues facing the residents of these facilities, however the greatest danger facing residents may be fear.  

Fear will terrorize some of these residents who are trapped in a building with sick and dying people. Fear also extends to the families and caregivers of the residents. The families fear the unknown and of not seeing their loved one during this uncertain time.

This fear will agonize loved ones who have no choice but to remove their loved one from a facility.

While fear is a normal by-product of an uncertain and unprecedented time, it is important to keep perspective during this time especially as nursing homes are entering into a third or perhaps fourth week of sequestering their residents.

A third or fourth week of nursing home and assisted living facility residents physically cut off from their loved ones who are increasingly worrying about their care and mental health.

We know now that physically staying away is crucial in stopping the spread of the coronavirus and in the nursing home setting it can be the difference between life and death. However, not only are residents cut off from their families but in most cases, they are isolated to their rooms as group activities have been cancelled as well as communal dining in furtherance of social distancing protocol.

Unfortunately, the protocols in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus are leading to deeply concerning consequences for residents cut off from loved ones and other social contact. Not only are residents missing out on the love and friendly faces associated with visiting with family, but in many cases family members provide support such as emotional support, physical therapy, and general care giving.

In such an uncertain time, it is critical that family members continue to support their loved ones residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

It is imperative to stay in touch with your loved ones and social connections are so important to combat the fear and isolation felt by nursing home and assisted living residents during this time. 

The following are a list of things that you should be doing to connect with your loved one:

  • Frequent telephone calls;
  • Video conferencing;
  • Emails;
  • Sharing photographs through social media if applicable; and 
  • Sending handwritten cards.  

It is also important to remind your loved ones isolated in nursing homes or assisted living facilities to remain mentally and physically active as they should not be laying or sitting down all day if at all possible.

Here are some activities you should encourage:

  • Walking around their room;
  • Coloring;
  • Reading a newspaper;
  • Writing a note to a family member; and 
  • Keeping the blood pumping by doing very light exercise.

In addition to communicating with your loved one and encouraging them to stay physically and mentally active, it is also a good idea to stay in touch with your loved one’s facility and ensure that they have an effective plan in place, especially in regard to infection control.

All senior living facilities are required to have plans to prevent and monitor infections and even more so now to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

As we deal with an uncertain future regarding social isolation, it is natural to be fearful. The unknown is scary and for those residents in a nursing home or assisted living facility they fear not only the coronavirus but also the isolation that comes with the prevention plan.

For families, the fear of not seeing their loved one can be overwhelming. However, by communicating frequently with your loved one, encouraging your loved one to stay active, and by ensuring your loved one’s facility has an effective plan in place you can have peace of mind for you and your loved one.

The attorneys at Creighton Macaluso Law Firm, LLC have years of experience assisting and helping residents and their families in protecting their rights. Contact them today to schedule a completely free consultation if you or someone you know is concerned with the response a nursing home, assisted living, or residential facility is taking to the coronavirus.