Skin infections are, unfortunately, common among nursing home residents. They may occur because of poor hygiene or may develop as a result of bedsores. If you noticed an infection when you went to visit your loved one in a nursing home, it might be a sign of neglect or abuse.
How Seniors in Nursing Homes Can Develop Skin Infections
Senior citizens are generally more susceptible to infections than younger people because elderly individuals have weaker immune systems. That makes maintaining good hygiene particularly important.
Nursing home residents often need help using the bathroom or need to have their diapers changed. They may also require assistance with bathing and changing their clothes. Residents may be completely reliant on staff members to help with those tasks.
If a resident has a wound from a surgery or an accident, it may need to be cleaned, and the dressing may need to be changed several times per day. If that is not done, the individual may develop an infection.
According to the Mayo Clinic, bedsores can form when a person with limited mobility is left in one position for a long time in a bed or a chair. That puts prolonged pressure on parts of the body and can cause the skin to become broken or to be lost completely. Bedsores can be extremely painful and can limit a nursing home patient’s mobility even further. The skin can become infected and septic, which can be life-threatening.
Seniors who are incontinent may also be at risk of developing bedsores because skin exposed to waste is vulnerable. Dehydration and malnutrition can contribute to skin breakdown and make patients susceptible to bedsores.
Failing to meet residents’ hygiene needs and to prevent bedsores are forms of neglect. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care cites placing residents’ bodies incorrectly, not changing diapers or assisting them in the bathroom, and not giving them regular baths as examples of neglect.
What Nursing Homes Should Do to Prevent Skin Infections
If a resident requires assistance with toileting, bathing, and other activities of daily living, the nursing home should have a plan in place to make sure those needs are met. Staff members should be properly trained, and managers and employees should make sure the guidelines are followed.
The nursing home should also have procedures in place to prevent bedsores. For example, staff should be required to turn residents to relieve pressure on one area, keep patients’ skin cool and dry, provide motion exercises, and use pillows or mattresses that are designed to prevent bedsores.
Staff members should also routinely inspect residents’ bodies for signs that bedsores may be developing, such as swelling, draining of a fluid, and changes in the firmness, color, or temperature of the skin.
Infections May Be a Sign of Neglect or Abuse
Infections and bedsores are avoidable, but nursing home staff sometimes do not take appropriate actions to prevent them. Understaffing is a common reason.
Many nursing homes do not have enough staff members to care for their residents adequately. Patients may also suffer if staff members are not provided with adequate training on the importance of hygiene, the dangers of bedsores, how they develop, and how they can be prevented. If employees fail to meet residents’ needs and maintain good hygiene because of understaffing, lack of training, or for another reason, that is a form of neglect.
In some cases, infections or bedsores may point to abuse. Staff may deliberately avoid taking steps to keep residents clean and to prevent bedsores and may withhold treatment once a skin infection or bedsore has developed.
Seek Justice for Your Loved One
If you or a member of your family developed a skin infection while receiving care in a nursing home, it might have been a result of neglect or abuse. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you seek financial compensation. Since 1985, we have been representing victims of abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities. We have helped thousands of people who suffered from preventable infections and other forms of harm.
Our team can investigate to figure out what led to the skin infection. We may review your loved one’s medical history, as well as nursing home care records, to figure out whether the facility’s staff met guidelines and provided proper care. We may review personnel documents to find out if the nursing home had an adequate number of employees on staff and whether it provided adequate training.
Our firm works on a contingency basis. That means that if you hire us to represent you, you will not have to pay us any money up front. We only collect a fee if we obtain a settlement on behalf of a client.
We may file a personal injury lawsuit and take the case to court, if necessary, to obtain a fair settlement. Your state’s statute of limitations restricts the amount of time victims of personal injuries have to file a lawsuit. The sooner you contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, the sooner we will be able to get to work gathering evidence. Call our office at (800) 842-6336 to talk to a member of our staff about how we may be able to help your family seek justice.