There are national awareness days and months for just about anything these days, and for good reason. Some things are worth bringing peoples’ attention to. October, for example, is Long-term Residents’ Rights Month. Considering the current state of many nursing homes in New York and across the country right now, it certainly seems an appropriate time to talk about some of the struggles this vulnerable population is facing.
According to The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, this year’s theme for Residents’ Rights Month is Connection Matters. It only takes a quick Google search to bring up numerous stories of nursing home residents being more isolated now than ever before. Their already small worlds and been made even smaller thanks to the current health crisis.
Nursing homes have shut out visitors in an attempt to keep their residents healthy, yet the lack of connection seems to be having the opposite effect. The inability to stay connected with loved ones and friends has harmed the overall well-being of many nursing home residents. In many of these facilities, staff are overwhelmed and not able to compensate for the lack of connection their residents are feeling. Stories abound of long-term care patients being left unattended and not receiving the care they need or deserve, and of neglect and abuse.
Along with focusing on connection, Long Term Residents’ Rights Months is and always will be a month to focus on the dignity, value and respect of nursing home residents. This is a population that should be taken care of, not left to fend for themselves. Anyone who has a family member in a nursing home in New York who they believe is not being treated with the care and respect they deserve may be able to do something about it — particularly if neglect or abuse is suspected. Legal counsel can review one’s case and, if appropriate, provide assistance seeking justice and compensation for the victim.