At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the medical community was thrown into a situation unlike anything seen since the Spanish flu.
In addition to the seriousness of COVID-19 itself, a significant domino effect followed. Martin Hagger, a professor of Health Psychology at the University of California, Merced, said society in general, saw “marked increases in levels of stress, anxiety, and loneliness over the course of the pandemic.”
When the pandemic first shut down society, it led to an increase in elder abuse and elder neglect in 2020. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry reported that “1 in 5 older people experienced abuse during the pandemic.” That’s a jump of about 84% from previous years and demonstrates the impact of COVID-19 on medical professionals during high-strung and high-stakes times. In 2021, the pandemic continues to disrupt healthcare systems due to the emergence of the Delta variant.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 has been described by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the fastest and the fittest” strain of the coronavirus, referring to the speed at which it can spread and infect. It has forced the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to reconsider its guidelines after loosening restrictions in the U.S., with some local and state officials reimposing mandates.
One important note the associates at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen want to make very clear is that victims of elder abuse and neglect are not necessarily current or recovering patients of COVID-19, nor is there always a direct relationship between elder abuse or elder neglect and contracting the coronavirus. However, the domino effect discussed earlier indicated a direct relationship between COVID-19 surging in our society and elder abuse and neglect surging due to the impact on medical and care facilities.
Southern California, home to major population centers like Los Angeles, Orange County, and the Inland Empire, has been one of the most adversely affected areas when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, elders and caregivers should be on high alert if Southern California enters any kind of shutdown as a result of the Delta variant. We have historical evidence that elder abuse and elder neglect rises when COVID-19 disrupts our communities. Moreover, it stands to reason that if medical institutions like skilled nursing facilities were impacted in a way that led to 84% more elder abuse and neglect nationwide after the first shutdown, a second shutdown might have the same or worse effect.
The morale of the medical community and fatigue of medical practitioners, nurses, and caretakers who are responsible for our elderly loved ones will likely be compromised further if we enter another lockdown. Therefore, if you are based in Los Angeles, Orange County, or the Inland Empire, we recommend communicating frequently with your loved ones in skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes to check on how they’re doing and confirm they’re receiving appropriate care.
Ultimately, the attorneys at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen praise the ongoing efforts of the frontline workers against this pandemic. We acknowledge that most of these individuals and institutions are tirelessly working to care for their patients. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen seek to prove elder abuse only against the facilities that fall below the standard of care for elderly patients.
If you believe one of your elderly loved ones has been abused or neglected in a skilled nursing facility or assisted living home, fill out our case evaluation form. We will assess your case for free.
Be on high alert if Southern California enters another shutdown. Regardless of morale, fatigue and circumstances, your elderly loved one deserves high-quality care. Know the statistics, keep the communication lines with your loved ones open, and don’t hesitate to consult the advice of a nursing home abuse lawyer like those at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen.