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Law Offices of James C. Shields

The Impact of Nursing Home Immunity on Elder Abuse

Nursing homes in many states are asking for immunity from civil suits as a response to the spread of COVID-19. If you have a loved one in such a facility, you may be wondering what impact this could have on their overall welfare and on their risk for becoming a victim of elder abuse.

What does immunity from civil suits mean for nursing homes?

The situation varies state by state, but a growing number of states have granted nursing homes temporary immunity from civil suits through executive order or legislation. In some cases, immunity may also apply in the event that a governor declares a state of emergency. Keep in mind that these measures are not intended to create blanket immunity for gross negligence or willful misconduct. It's also important to know that the United States Department of Justice and other federal agencies can still decide to conduct investigations independent of the actions taken at the state level. Nursing home populations are extremely vulnerable due to their age and medical conditions, and must be adequately protected.

How can I keep my loved ones safe from elder abuse?

It's vital to keep in close touch with your loved ones and with the staff of the nursing home where they reside. Of course, that can be more difficult when you're unable to communicate with them face to face. Quality legal services can help you to stay up to date on the latest laws and regulations that may affect your situation. If you suspect that elder abuse may have occurred, skilled legal representation increases your ability to take effective action. You can also find help or report your concerns to the Elder Justice Initiative at the Department of Justice.

Contact us at the Law Offices of James C. Shields. Elder abuse is always a serious issue, and seniors may be at even greater risk during these difficult times. The services of an experienced attorney can help you protect your loved ones over the long term as COVID-19 continues to threaten lives and change the legal landscape.