Inadequate Daily Care in a Nursing Home
Find out what to look for if you suspect a loved one is getting inadequate daily care in a nursing home, including how to spot growing stages of a bed sore and what to do about it.
Inadequate daily care is a sweeping term and can be a catchall phrase for many different situations regarding nursing home neglect. Some of the different actions or inactions included here would be insufficient food or water, inattention, a lack of or improper treatment, malnutrition, or dehydration. Specific actions could also come under the umbrella of this category, such as failure to monitor food and water intake, incorrect use or not providing the proper medical devices, not recognizing a medical condition, or not following up with the correct medical treatment.
Some examples on inadequate care include:
- Inadequate Food
- Lack of or Improper Treatment
- Malnutrition or Dehydration
- Failure to Monitor Food and Water Intake
- Failure to Provide the Correct Medical Devices
- Failure to Recognize or Treat a Medical Condition
Understaffing can directly relate to many problems that develop with the residents in nursing homes. For instance, these might include cutting back on mandatory duties such as preventing infections, providing proper nutrition, reducing the incidents of falls, and stopping bedsores from developing.
Another example of needed daily care involves oral health. Pneumonia is the disease that is the number one killer of nursing home residents. A study has found that the accumulation of bacteria and plaque on the surfaces of teeth and dentures result in the spread of respiratory pathogens. These pathogens migrate from the mouth to the lungs where they fester and can cause pneumonia. Although a lack of training of nursing home staff and the reluctance of patients to cooperate with this regime pose problems, simple dental health could help reduce the rate of pneumonia.
Furthermore, it was noted that state inspection services of nursing homes cannot be relied on because of the great diversity of standards. In other words, do not depend on any governmental agencies to protect your loved ones. You must step up and be proactive to make certain that your relative is safe, protected, and is receiving the quality of care that you expect. Still, if you find or suspect problems, do not hesitate in contacting governmental services to get them involved as soon as possible.
Every nursing home or assisted living facility should provide sanitary bedding, fresh eating utensils, clean bathroom facilities, and a dirt-free bedroom area. If these are not being completed properly, a case of negligence can occur.
Bedsores are a very common problem in nursing homes and can develop quickly. They can also become life threatening so prompt discovery and treatment should have high priorities. Bedsores are also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers. This type of medical problem is caused when there is unrelenting pressure to a particular location on the skin. The people who are most susceptible to this medical problem are the ones who are confined to a bed or spend a long time in a wheelchair and are not able to shift positions. This can cause an injury to the skin and the underlying tissue. At the worst, it can manifest itself into a major medical problem causing a life threatening injury reaching through the depths of skin and tissue down to the bone.
Bedsores usually appear on skin over a boney area and depend greatly on the body’s actual position. For those confined to a bed, specific bodily areas are concerned: the edge of the ears, the back or sides of the head, hips, tailbone, lower back, behind the knees, heels, and ankles. For those wheelchair bound patients, the most common areas affected are the buttocks, tailbone, spine, shoulder blades, and the rear of the arms and legs where they touch the chair. An examination of Stage 1 bedsores should be part of the ongoing daily treatment of all nursing home patients.
Bedsores are an indication of nursing home abuse, nursing home neglect, or malpractice.
This is the very beginning of the injury. The skin does not lighten when touched and it is unbroken. A person with light skin may show a red color, while a darker skin color may show some discoloration. The location may be tender to the touch.
The outer layer and the under layer of skin are both damaged. It may appear to be a shallow injury with a red or pinkish color accompanying it. It often looks to be fluid-filled or as a burst blister.
Now the ulcer is deep, similar to a crater, and exposes some fat. At the very deepest part of this one, you may see yellow colored, dead tissue. It may be larger in size under adjacent healthy tissue.
This is the most serious phase of the ulcer. Tendons, bone, or muscle may be seen. Dead, yellow, crusty, or dark tissue in the bottom of the injury is visible. Often additional damage can be seen under nearby healthy skin.
If you see early signs of neglect, be sure to investigate by speaking to nurses, caregivers and nursing home administrators to get an explanation and seek urgent treatment and correction of procedures. If the neglect has proceeded past stage 2, and you are not satisfied with the level of urgency of restorative treatment and concern on the part of administrators, you may want to consider moving your loved one to another facility or contacting an attorney that specializes in nursing home abuse.