Nursing home residents are in more trouble in Louisiana as the state paused its reopening due to new coronavirus cases that have surged around the nation. The delayed openings mean that residents in nursing homes will spend even more time in isolation. This can lead to mental health issues and other serious problems. The new closures and restrictions came after people in these facilities had already been isolated and suffering for over four months due to the pandemic.
Local news speaks with nursing home residents in Covington Louisiana
One particular 85 year old resident told a story where her Mother’s Day celebration consisted of only 15 minutes of being able to talk to her family. She recounted non stop feelings of solitude and detachment from her friends and relatives. This was a large contrast from the normal celebrations that her family usually has for several holidays throughout the year.
Experts have already known for decades that total isolation is a serious risk in the elderly. There is a 50% greater chance of developing dementia and a 32% increase in the possibility of a stroke, along with a plethora of other potential health issues. Consistent and regular social interactions are also associated with better health outcomes overall.
A recent study conducted by a team of researchers at New York University has also found that a number of health issues have been worsening among elderly populations as they have been more isolated during the pandemic. Social isolation was linked to increased problems with depression, diabetes, and heart disease. Immune systems are weakened in elderly individuals after prolonged periods of isolation as well. This weakened immunity was most concerning, as a large number of other infections and illnesses are more likely to occur in those with suppressed immunity. Many healthcare providers have noticed loneliness was a predictor of other illnesses, and current conditions are especially dire.
Forest Manor in Covington, Louisiana had reported 38 nursing home deaths and 68 infections related to coronavirus, making it one of the worst in the state. Shortly before the news report was published, residents said that restrictions had become even more severe. Residents cannot even meet with others inside of the facility to have basic social interactions and play cards or board games together. They have only been able to see their family members through a window while talking on the phone. Some families are worried that they may never be able to be physically close to their aging relatives again.
Learn about lawsuits against nursing homes
You can talk with a lawyer about the possibility of bringing a case against a nursing home for neglect, abuse, or other illegal behaviors. To schedule a consultation, contact:
3960 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70806