2020 has been a difficult year for multiple reasons, and senior citizens have been bearing the brunt of these trying times. The situation is particularly dire for those in America’s nursing homes, as current circumstances have cut these vulnerable individuals off from friends and family in many instances.
Unsurprisingly, deaths due to nursing home neglect and abuse have been on the rise this entire year. According to the Associated Press, deaths under the title “failure to thrive” have been swelling at nursing homes throughout the year.
What is “failure to thrive?”
There is no one solid medical definition for this term. Failure to thrive is generally a mental state rather than a physical one. Many times, failure to thrive can be a result of extended isolation leading the patient to fall into despair and eventually die.
Nursing home experts predict that these “failure to thrive” deaths have increased nearly 15% more than originally expected in 2020, which means that tens of thousands of senior citizens have died due to this.
What is the culprit?
Chronic understaffing nursing homes has been an issue across the country for some time now, but the events of 2020 have made the situation much worse. Some nursing homes even had to completely evacuate their residence due to lack of staff. In many areas, public health factors meant that family members could no longer visit their loved ones and provide supplemental care.
Due to legal protections that many nursing homes enjoy as a result of current public health measures, bringing suits against nursing homes for neglect in the current climate is difficult.