The holidays were not a good time for the elderly. Even though some were able to see loved ones for the first time in months, there are widespread reports that morale in elder care facilities is low. Healthy staff members are exhausted by the ongoing crisis. Of course, there is also a high rate of illness among staff and residents. But one number sticks out – a shocking 39% of all COVID-related deaths involve residents and staff at nursing homes and long-term care facilities. That is well above 100,000 deaths by early December in 2020, with numbers continuing to rise daily.
Why did this happen?
According to a study by AARP, there are several reasons why such a high proportion of fatalities involve these facilities:
- Workers, which are often underpaid, work in multiple facilities.
- Chronic shortages of staff.
- Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services pulled back oversight early in the pandemic.
- The elderly residents are more vulnerable to the virus.
- Residents live communally in these facilities.
- Only 10% of federal relief funds were allotted for infection control.
- For-profit corporations often run the facilities.
Out of sight, out of mind
Unless someone works in these facilities or has a loved one living in them, the problem’s magnitude does not register with the average person. Only once they see it first-hand when they fall ill or get to the emergency room, they realize how prevalent this issue is.
State and federal governments are granting immunity to these facilities’ owners, but some here in Texas have already filed suits against the owners. Loved ones with questions about a potential lawsuit may want to contact a personal injury attorney who represents the elderly and their families.