Today Ohio recognizes Elder Abuse Day with the slogan, “If you see something say something.”
Well we see something unthinkable happening in Ohio’s nursing homes, the unchecked spread of COVID-19 and the unspeakable abuse of separating vulnerable patients from their loved ones.
Ohio has over 2000 COVID-19 nursing home deaths which represents 71% of the total deaths in Ohio. Yet, the Governor, Lt. Governor and former Health Director focused their efforts on business and school closures. They prioritized testing in the Ohio prison system and not nursing homes. They went so far as to release prisoners from lockup to help decrease the spread of the disease.
There has been no such effort to increase testing in care facilities or relocate nursing home patients to help stop the spread of infection.
Perhaps even more incomprehensible is the Governor, Lt. Governor and former Health Directors decision to prohibit family members from having access to their loved ones in the nursing homes. The elderly are passing away without their loved ones, and families are unable to be with their loved one at their hour of greatest need.
More than three months into the coronavirus pandemic, around 70,000 Ohio nursing home residents remain in visitor isolation. Those in assisted living facilities or homes for people with disabilities can have only restricted outdoor visits. Dayton Daily News
Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted are promoting new pop-up testing sites around Ohio. The trouble is, individuals who are in nursing homes can’t travel to a pop-up site to secure testing.
Why the delay is addressing the source of Ohio’s COVID19 epidemic?
As we acknowledge Elder Abuse Day, let’s take a moment to ask the Governor and his team critical questions about the ongoing crisis in Ohio’s nursing homes.