While it’s understood that nursing home abuse and neglect is a real problem across America, a new Human Rights Watch report underscores how serious the problem may be.

The report accumulated results from a survey of 564 responses in 45 states and is more of a sampling of nursing home experiences and perhaps offers a larger view of the lives of those in nursing homes.

Short Staffing Remains a Major Issue

The report noted that from April to June 2020, nursing homes that had COVID-19 outbreaks saw staffing levels fall 40% below already short numbers in 2019. The underlying issues here range from those who called in sick or tended to family matters, low wages, and lack of/no reasonable health insurance. The lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) early in the pandemic may have led to these issues as well.

Neglect is Ongoing

The story associated with the report outlines a number of issues ranging from carelessness in responding to COVID-related issues to a lack of response to physical and emotional decline. One suggestion was that because relatives were not allowed into most nursing homes for the better part of a year, they couldn’t spot and/or provide additional support to stop potential neglect.

Hygiene Issues

The pandemic led many nursing homes to fall short on regular, daily hygiene for residents, leading many watching only from video calls to question how and why care could have declined so rapidly. The report notes instances of reduced face and nail care, irregular clothing changes, and much more.

The report highlights one example of a woman in the Southwest who uses a wheelchair and was independently able to move on her own and, through the pandemic, saw her mobility decline quickly. She’s now in bed “all day”.


This is only a summary of issues the report outlines, and it’s clear to see that nursing home conditions are on the decline and require a more watchful eye from family members and those with loved ones in these care facilities. If you suspect abuse, neglect, or poor conditions, call Rabb & Rabb, PLLC today at (520) 888-6740 to learn more about potential options open to you.

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