If you have visited a relative in a nursing home and noticed untreated infections and lack of proper wound care, your relative is suffering from elderly mistreatment and neglect. When nursing homes agree to take patients, they commit to providing a certain standard of care, and when they do not meet that standard, they are liable for the damage they cause.
It is heartbreaking to watch your loved one suffer helplessly in the hands of those they should be able to trust. Elderly patients who depend fully on staff for their basic care and everyday needs are especially vulnerable to mistreatment, abuse, and neglect by staff. They may be afraid to speak up or may not have the mental capacity to do so.
They also may not recollect mistreatment if they are struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia and might not be able to tell you about it. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we want to see your family get justice. You may be eligible to collect compensation for the pain and suffering your loved one has endured. Call us today at (800) 842-6336 for a free consultation to learn more about how an Atlanta untreated infections lawyer might be able to help you.
Common Types of Infections
Nursing home patients may suffer from many types of bacterial, viral, internal, and external infections. After an extensive study on common nursing home infections, Aging Health provided several detailed findings from their research, including all of the following:
- Urinary tract infections are extremely common in all patients, but those with urinary catheters suffer them at a significantly higher rate.
- Pneumonia and other respiratory infections: the study found that patients who did not receive oral care were three times more likely to die of pneumonia than those receiving regular oral care.
- Skin and soft tissue infections can occur in all nursing home patients but tend to happen more commonly in older patients because of their increased lack of resistance. Extremely dry skin presents a higher risk for infection because cracked skin provides viruses and bacteria with more entry points. Pressure ulcers, diabetic wounds, and shingles are all examples of skin wounds that, if not treated, can become very dangerous, leading to amputation, sepsis, and death.
- Gastroenteritis and influenza are very common and can easily become epidemic within nursing homes. The fact that older patients are four times more likely to die of gastrointestinal viral or bacterial infections than active, younger patients was attributed to dehydration.
While all patients experience infections, the cases of infection were significantly higher in patients with “indwelling devices” such as urinary catheters and feeding tubes than those without such devices. Those with indwelling devices also had more severe, sometimes fatal, reactions to their infection.
Causes of Infections
The existence of infections consistently relates to a decrease in hygiene efforts and standards. Infections primarily result from poor overall hygiene, fewer baths, and less routine cleaning behaviors, like washing hands, etc. For example, those who received dental care and oral hygiene assistance receive fewer respiratory and pneumatic infections, as noted above. When common safety procedures are not observed, like regular handwashing, viruses can easily spread throughout a nursing home community.
Skin infections and pressure ulcers tend to occur when elders are not exercised as prescribed or when patients unable to move or get out of bed are neglected. When those wounds are left to fester untreated, they can weep, spread, emit foul odors and potentially transmit infection into the blood, causing sepsis.
For a free legal consultation with a Untreated Infections Lawyer serving Atlanta, call (800) 794-0444
Patients Who Experience a Greater Risk of Abuse
Patients who experience a greater risk of mistreatment are those who cannot or will not communicate their abuse or neglect. If you notice untreated infections, it could be the tip of the iceberg, especially if your loved one falls into an especially vulnerable population, such as dementia patients or extremely dependent patients, those who cannot perform basic tasks, like eating, independently. Your loved one could also be experiencing verbal and psychological abuse and other forms of neglect. If you suspect your elderly family member is suffering, an Atlanta untreated infections lawyer might be able to help.
Due to the fact that patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia are much less likely to be able to recall or communicate the abuse they suffer; they are at a much higher risk of mistreatment than those without. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reported on the results of a dementia and abuse study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Almost half of the patients with dementia in the study dealt with some sort of abuse or neglect from a caretaker.
Highly Dependent Patients
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) explains that elderly populations receiving long-term care in residential settings, such as nursing homes, are at a high risk of abuse and neglect because they rely on nursing home staff for virtually every need. “The elderly in skilled nursing facilities are among the most vulnerable members of our society. They are dependent on the nursing facility operator for their food, medicine, medical care, dental care, and a bed; a roof over their heads; for assistance with virtually every daily activity.”
The report went on to explain that those experiencing abuse in this setting might be particularly hesitant to report their abuse for future fear of retaliation. That is why it is all the more important for family members to rely on their intuition and seriously consider any evidence they see, because even if your relative is capable of communicating abuse, they may not be willing to do so.
Atlanta Untreated Infections Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
What You Can Do
If your relative has experienced the severe consequences of gross neglect and an untreated infection, perhaps received an amputation or developed sepsis, they could be eligible for compensation. In Georgia, O.C.G.A. §9-3-33 grants you two years from the date of the injury in which to file a personal injury lawsuit on their behalf. They deserve to live in a facility that can provide quality care and ensure their safety, and a fair compensation award can provide that opportunity.
If your relative lost their life as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, you could file a wrongful death suit on their behalf. According to O.C.G.A. §51-4-2, individuals have two years from the time of the injury in which to do that.
Your loved one does not have to continue to suffer in a nursing home where their basic needs are not being met. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wants to help you. If you are interested in seeking justice for your loved one, call a team member today for a free consultation at (800) 842-6336. We work on a contingency basis, so there is no obligation to pay us unless we win your case.