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Senior Care Advocates Are Concerned Neglect Is Happening At Nursing Homes

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Senior Care advocates are concerned about how nursing homes are treating residents during the pandemic. There is currently a state order barring visitors to nursing homes in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

However, Families For Better Care Director Brian Lee says that it also means there are fewer people to check up on residents. Lee used to oversee the state's volunteer ombudsman program and is an advocate for nursing home residents. Lee says a lot of the oversight that was in place for nursing homes, disappeared once COVID-19 hit. Lee explains before the outbreak; ombudsmen used to go into these facilities to do check-ups. Now, he says, they have to do that over the phone.

"It's a real mystery right now what is going on with the overall care and quality of residents, and this is what's extremely frustrating for families... They feel as though that there's really no one holding these nursing homes accountable for care at the moment," Lee says.

He explains that families can also be advocates for nursing home residents, and without them, a lot of oversight is taken away. To fill some of those gaps, his group has started raising money to give Amazon Echo Shows to nursing home residents.

"They have this feature called drop-in, and you can immediately have video connection into you know, your mom's room, and see what's going on. It's a window into the nursing home universe right now that is slammed shut right now," Lee says.

Lee says the video call devices are the size of an alarm clock and don't require upkeep.

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Robbie Gaffney is a recent graduate from Florida State University with degrees in Digital Media Production and Creative Writing. Before working at WFSU, they recorded FSU’s basketball and baseball games for Seminole Productions as well as interned for the PBS Station in Largo, Florida. Robbie loves playing video games such as Shadow of the Colossus, Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Their other hobbies include sleeping and watching anime.