Articles

Social Isolation of Older Adults in Long Term Care as a Result of COVID-19 Mitigation Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Protecting the Individual or a Means to an End?

Purvis Lively, Cathy

In response to the threat of COVID-19, CMS issued unprecedented restrictions severely limiting the liberty of older adults residing in long-term care. Older adults are identified as at a high risk of becoming infected through exposure to SARS-Cov-2 and of suffering the most severe morbidity and mortality. While protecting the individual from disease, the restrictions also had a determinantal effect. The restrictions exacerbated social isolation and loneliness, two pervasive public health concerns within the older adult population. Legally, the restrictions pass constitutional muster. The ethical analysis presents more questions and debates. Initially, the restrictions to protect the older adult were grounded in public health ethics and bioethics principles. However, the ethical lines become blurred as the risk of harm secondary to isolation increased over the time that the restrictions remained in effect. The ethical point of view becomes more divergent considering the restrictions also preserved medical resources for the greater good of society, arguably diverting them to serve younger people. We have a moral obligation to reduce social isolation and recognize the older adult as a valuable member of society with equal worth and dignity.

Files

  • thumnail for Purvis Lively_2021_Social Isolation of Older Adults in Long Term Care as a Result of COVID-19.pdf Purvis Lively_2021_Social Isolation of Older Adults in Long Term Care as a Result of COVID-19.pdf application/pdf 224 KB Download File

Also Published In

Title
Voices in Bioethics
DOI
https://doi.org/10.52214/vib.v7i.8526

More About This Work

Published Here
August 29, 2022

Notes

Pandemic, Long-term Care, Public Health, Resources, Social Isolation, Loneliness