Proper hygiene is a crucial factor in maintaining health and quality of life. Unfortunately, with age and corresponding cognitive and physical limitations, many older adults find it increasingly difficult to care for themselves. Bathing, laundering, and changing their clothing might be just a few of the essential daily living activities they may find challenging. When your loved one is no longer able to live safely, healthily, and comfortably on their own, you may have to make the difficult decision to move them to a nursing home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 15,600 nursing homes in the United States with 1.7 million beds and 1.4 million patients. Approximately 69.3% of nursing homes are owned by for-profit companies.
Many nursing homes provide quality, compassionate, competent around-the-clock care for their residents. This includes assistance with the essential activities of daily living, as well as medical supervision and treatment, emotional support, and companionship.
Unfortunately, not all facilities uphold the high standards expected of them. In a survey of 2,000 nursing home residents by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), 44% claimed they suffered abuse, and 95% witnessed neglect or were a victim of neglect.
If you have a loved one in a Louisiana nursing home, it is vital to keep a close eye on them to ensure they are getting the care they need and deserve. Unfortunately, many patients do not report abuse or neglect. It is often up to loved ones to know the warning signs and take action. One red flag is poor personal hygiene, which can include soiled clothing and a clear lack of bathing.
No one should suffer from neglect or abuse, and those who inflict such injustices must be held accountable for their actions. If your loved one has soiled clothes or other signs of poor hygiene, a Louisiana lawyer may be able to support you in seeking justice. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm helps families seek financial awards for their losses to help pay for costs such as medical bills and changes in care arrangements. Call (800) 842-6336 to speak with a staff member to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
Why Abuse and Neglect Occur
Abuse and neglect are prevalent nationwide, but of Louisiana’s 276 nursing homes, only 8 received 5 out of 5 ratings according to a review by U.S. News & World Report. And the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ranked the state number 49 of 50 in statewide nursing home care.
Often, abuse and neglect occur in nursing homes that are understaffed or overcrowded. Facilities may also be ill-equipped to handle patients’ needs, and staff may be under-trained, overworked, or burnt out.
Per the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals (LDH), nursing home staff, including physicians and allied health professionals, social services staff, nurses, nurses’ aides, facility administrators, and psychiatric or psychological services personnel have a duty to report abuse. Unfortunately, they do not always do so for fear of retribution, including losing their job. Or, if they do report issues, their complaints may fall on deaf ears.
Often, it is up to family members to take legal action against nursing facilities for mistreating their residents. If your loved one has suffered from neglect, a Louisiana soiled clothes or other signs of poor hygiene lawyer may be able to help you seek justice.
Signs of Abuse and Neglect
Elder abuse and neglect can encompass a variety of situations. This includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, financial abuse, general neglect, and medical neglect.
Some of the most common signs of abuse or neglect include excessive body odor from lack of bathing, dirty hair, soiled clothing or bed linens, and soiled and unchanged disposable diapers. Failure to supply clean clothing and assist patients with toileting is not only unsanitary but unsafe and cruel.
Being left unwashed, in filthy clothing, or without regular access to a toilet or clean diapers can result in serious issues, including bedsores, skin irritation, sepsis, scabies, lice, athlete’s foot, gastrointestinal issues, parasites, and infections. Lack of oral hygiene can contribute to issues such as cavities and gum disease, which can lead to life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia and cardiovascular disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Other signs of abuse or neglect include:
● Malnutrition, dehydration, or unexplained weight loss
● Lack of assistance with eating or drinking
● Inadequate mobility assistance or being left in bed for unreasonable periods
● Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or sores
● Repeated falls or other accidents
● Improper wound care
● Failure to administer preventative medicine as needed
● Changes in behavior, such as withdrawal, depression, fearfulness, trouble sleeping, or post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms
Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide a hygienic, safe, and comfortable environment for their patients. This includes regularly cleaning the facility and ensuring residents have their basic needs met, including assistance with personal hygiene. When a resident does not have sufficient care, they may experience significant hardship. Often, in addition to physical harm, patients endure psychological consequences, including low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression as a result of neglect.
How a Louisiana Soiled Clothes or Other Signs of Poor Hygiene Lawyer Can Help
Nursing home residents are vulnerable individuals. Often, patients are unable to defend themselves against poor treatment, neglect, or malicious behaviors. If you suspect your loved one is suffering, it is vital to speak up on their behalf. If your family member has soiled clothes or other signs of poor hygiene, a lawyer may be able to support you in seeking justice and financial awards for their injuries. While no amount of money can heal their wounds, financial compensation may help your family pay for medical costs and rehabilitation, as well as relocation to a better care facility. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to speak with a member of our team for a free and confidential consultation.