Older adults often move into nursing homes because they cannot meet their own needs independently and require support. The professionals working at a facility are entrusted to do everything from managing residents’ medication to assisting with showering and other hygiene-related needs.
Unfortunately, neglect in nursing homes is a serious concern. Workers are often underpaid while they are working at very understaffed facilities. Even when they have the best intentions, they may not be capable of meeting all the needs of everyone in their care. Neglect at a nursing home can lead to major medical issues for patients, including the three relatively common problems below.
1. Worsening bedsores
For most older adults, even those that cannot move independently at all anymore, bedsores are preventable. With proper cushioning and rotation, even someone who cannot move their body can avoid developing severe bedsores.
Once those bedsores do develop, nursing home workers can keep them from getting worse by treating the wound and providing appropriate cushioning. The initial development of bedsores and their progression into open, often infected wounds is a harmful side effect of neglect at a nursing home.
2. Preventable falls
A fall is a major safety concern for an older adult, who could easily break a bone because of decreased bone density later in life. Falls in older adults often lead to lasting limitations on mobility, which can then lead to declining functionality even after they physically recover from the fall.
When there aren’t enough staff members to help people dress themselves or go to the bathroom, they may try to handle these issues on their own, only to end up hurt.
3. Infestations and infections
When nursing home workers don’t have the time to clean up after themselves and support the hygiene practices of residents, lice, bed bugs and scabies may start to spread. Infections, ranging from the common cold to pneumonia, can also run rampant through nursing homes when staff members don’t properly sanitize spaces, tools and even themselves.
Some of the worst medical issues that arise in nursing homes are unfortunately the result of neglect and/or understaffing. Holding facilities accountable for the medical and financial consequences of negligent nursing home care can result in the compensation of affected residents and, hopefully, prompt changes in business practices. These are just some of the reasons why those affected by neglect should seek legal guidance as soon as possible.