Unsanitary Conditions at Your Family Member’s Nursing Home Could Put Him at Risk of Serious Health Problems
Nursing homes are like other medical care facilities, such as hospitals and in-patient rehabilitation centers. Patients and their families have a right to expect the nursing home be kept clean and hygienic—and that the residents’ hygiene needs are met. This is the most basic level of care that should be expected, in line with providing the residents with proper nutrition and liquids. Sadly, many nursing home residents are forced to live in unsanitary conditions where their basic physical needs are ignored. This can jeopardize their already fragile health.
How Dirty Facilities Threaten Residents
When the lack of hygiene in a nursing home is more than an isolated incident, it can constitute nursing home neglect. If bathroom showers, toilets, sinks, and floors are not sanitized and cleaned regularly, the bathrooms can become a haven for bacteria and germs that can cause residents to become ill with infections. Kitchen facilities must also be properly cleaned, and kitchen workers trained in the safe handling of food to prevent the spread of illnesses.
Common areas where residents frequently spend time also cannot be overlooked and must be cleaned on a regular basis. This includes sanitizing tables, chairs, and other surfaces that get a lot of human contact to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses.
Lack of Proper Care of Residents’ Physical Needs
Many nursing home residents need help with their basic personal care and dressing needs. That is one of the reasons they are living in a nursing home. This can include changing residents’ clothes, taking them to the restroom, changing their bandages, bathing them, and changing their diapers. Too often nursing home staff members fail to provide this basic level of assistance, leaving patients unclean, in dirty clothes, and in wet diapers.
Why Do Nursing Homes Neglect Proper Hygiene?
There are numerous reasons nursing homes suffer from a lack of proper hygiene. Putting profits above the quality care of residents often underlies why nursing homes are unsanitary. Some of the common reasons this problem continues includes:
- Untrained employees. Many nursing home staff who take care of cleaning the facilities, preparing food, and attending to patients’ basic needs are not well-educated. When they are also not trained in proper cleaning techniques, food handling, and patient care, it increases the danger that the nursing home and residents will suffer from poor hygiene problems.
- Understaffing. Nursing homes are routinely understaffed, resulting in staff having insufficient time to keep the nursing home clean or care for residents. Even nursing staff can forget basic procedures such as washing hands in the rush to get to the next emergency.
- High turnover. Because nursing home employees are often paid low wages and work harder due to staffing problems, the turnover of employees is high. This exacerbates the problems of untrained workers and understaffing.
- Inadequate procedures. Some nursing homes fail to have policies or standards for proper hygiene of the facility and for resident care.
Infections and Other Illnesses Caused by Poor Hygiene in Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents often have suppressed immune systems and many medical conditions that make them more prone to developing an infection or other medical condition. When they receive improper care or the nursing home facility is left unsanitary, the likelihood that they will develop infections or other medical complications increases. Some of these problems can be life-threatening for elderly residents. Common problems they suffer with include:
- Infections, such as bacterial pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and influenza
- Bed sores
- Diarrhea—sometimes developing into a chronic problem
- Athletes foot
- Psychological damage, such as depression and reduction in the quality of life
Like children, nursing home residents are often unable to stand up for themselves when they must live in unsanitary conditions or suffer other forms of nursing home abuse. Nursing home residents must rely on family members to watch for the signs of poor hygiene and to advocate for them when they are not receiving the care they deserve. If you believe your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, start an online chat or call us today at 877-401-6689 to schedule a free consultation with David Brauns.