Wrongful Death and COVID-19 in Ohio Nursing Homes: Tips to Keep your Elderly Relatives Safe


In Ohio, the family is of utmost importance. The care of an elderly loved one is a significant concern. This is why you might be surprised to learn that some Ohio nursing homes fall below the set standards in some areas such as staffing, health inspections, and quality measures. Unfortunately, this problem is more than just sanitary issues and understaffing.

Challenges that Nursing Homes Face

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit nursing homes hard. A report released on April 30th linked a third of all COVID-19 fatalities in Ohio to nursing homes. This raises a critical question, what can you do to protect your loved ones from coronavirus, abuse, and wrongful death in nursing homes?

On March 11th, Ohio’s Department of Health and the Department of Veterans Services rolled out an order and guidelines that limit the number of assisted living/nursing home visitors. Today, your loved one gets one visitor per day. Besides, these facilities are required to screen everyone at the point of entry, including vendors, employees, family members, and more.

Social distancing and other stringent measures are being implemented to stop the spread of coronavirus. However, they have made it more challenging for those with relatives in nursing homes. These elderly ones rely on your regular visits for support, love, and a chance for someone to look out for their best interests. But if you become sick, you may not be able to visit them, and you will leave them without an advocate.

In addition to the COVID-19 outbreak, understaffing in most nursing homes is dangerous for residents. Neglect and abuse become more rampant as the resident to staff member ratio get out of control. This can cause psychological issues, physical illness, and in the worst-case scenario, wrongful deaths among the facility residents.

Physically dependent patients suffer the most. All bed-bound patients need to be turned and moved from time to time to prevent muscle atrophy and bed sores. Incontinence diapers and pads should be changed regularly to prevent any infections. These are just some of the issues that require special attention and care.

The shortage of nurses and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to deliver a devastating blow on most nursing homes in Ohio.

Helping your Loved Ones in Nursing Homes

Visit the elderly more often

As long as you’re healthy, visit your relatives in nursing homes more often. This will keep them happier, safer, and healthier. During these visits, you can nip problems in the bud long before they become bigger issues that might have severe consequences. Also, you can care for your relative to lighten the overall workload on nursing staff.

When you cannot visit, call your relative daily

Ask your loved one if they are getting proper care, being groomed, and assisted properly. Find out if their needs are handled properly and if they’re living happily. If the response to any of your questions raises concerns, it’s best to contact the management immediately.

During your visits or calls, document everything

Whenever your relative in a nursing home tells you something is wrong, or you notice that they are neglected, document every detail. Make sure you accurately document what happened, the date, time, the person you spoke with to handle the issue and the response you got. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved.

If you realize nothing has been done to address the problem, legal action may be necessary. Proper documentation of various events will help you prove negligence, and abuse and neglect should be reported immediately. Don’t let the extraordinary circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic become the basis of abuse, neglect, and wrongful death among nursing home residents.