PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Not only do the elderly have to worry about catching COVID-19 in long-term facilities but also being cared for. The AARP told Arizona's Family that negligence is on the rise during the pandemic.

The state director of Arizona's AARP, Dana Marie Kennedy, told Arizona's Family that she's hearing cries for help during this pandemic. Sometimes it comes from the victim.

"She was terminally ill, she broke her leg, and she was transferred to a rehab center," said Kennedy. "They didn't give her pain medication; they didn't get her to a restroom."

Kennedy said she hears a lot more of those stories during this pandemic. She believes it's from staffing stretched thin and families not visiting their loved ones due to COVID precautions.

Task force on long term care facilities

One of the hardest things during the pandemic has been keeping loved ones separated due to the fear of spreading the virus.

Kennedy is on Governor Doug Ducey's long-term care task force. She implemented guidelines that allow family members to visit loved ones at facilities so long as they test for COVID-19.

Those visits, she said, not only curb negligence but give residents hope.

"People with dementia, they had no idea why their loved one wasn't visiting them, sometimes they waited at the door for them," said Kennedy. "So you can understand why these residents were losing weight."

If you suspect your loved one is experiencing negligence or abuse at a long term care facility. You can file a report with the state health department. 


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