Human Rights Watch Report Examines Lethal Nursing Home Understaffing and Neglect

A new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) summarizes the horrible neglect and isolation in nursing homes during the pandemic.  In the knee jerk (and ultimately highly unsuccessful) effort to protect residents from COVID-19, policymakers banned visitors that had previously provided significant levels of care to residents, waived minimum staffing requirements, and suspended routine oversight.  As explained to HRW by several dozen nursing home staff members, residents and resident family members, these policies strained pre-existing understaffing problems and led to weight loss, dehydration, bed sores, poor hygiene, and profound isolation among residents.  As of November 2020, it was estimated that nursing homes experienced 40,000 excess deaths (more than would be expected given historical data) not caused by COVID-19.  Policymakers’ decisions to isolate nursing homes and withdraw access and oversight in order to save residents tragically “caused serious harm to many people.”

New York Times Slams Federal Rating System for Nursing Homes

A scathing March 13, 2021 article by the New York Times – In U.S. nursing homes, where Covid-19 killed scores, even reports of maggots and rape don’t dock five-star ratings – bluntly declared that the federal government’s five-star rating system for nursing homes “is broken.” The Times described five-star rated nursing homes with residents who had bone-deep bed sores and others who were reportedly raped, drugged, abused and seriously injured due to mistreatment.