Poor Hygiene Causing Injury and Death at Missouri Nursing Homes - Terry Law Firm

Poor Hygiene Causing Injury and Death at Missouri Nursing Homes

Why Poor Hygiene Can Kill: St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Explains Dangers

At an early age we are taught that having good hygiene is very important for our health.  This is particularly true of senior citizens or elderly patients who are recovering from surgery or injuries, are sick, or are of advanced aged.  Nursing homes and rehabilitation centers specifically invite these individuals into their facilities as they promise to provide a safe and healthy living environment. Some nursing homes actually do a fair job at hygienically caring for residents and ensure the clean upkeep of their facilities, but sadly far too many others completely fail.  Poor hygiene in a nursing home is usually a sign of a larger issue such as understaffing or poor training.

Poor hygiene is more than just a nuisance.  Poor hygiene is a big problem at nursing homes and, in fact, it could also be a deadly problem.  This is true of poor dental hygiene in nursing homes which is a contributor to pneumonia and heart problems all the way to skin hygiene which is a critical area in the issue of whether pressure sores get infected.  Poor hygiene contributes to many of the leading causes of death in the elderly such as pneumonia,  heart disease and sepsis which is a systemic infection often caused by a localized infection such as a urinary tract infection or an infected pressure sore. Combined with the compromised or weakened immune systems of most residents in a nursing home, poor hygiene in a nursing home is simply disastrous and likely to lead to wrongful death.

Why is Poor Hygiene Dangerous in a Missouri Nursing Home?

Poor hygiene is dangerous and even deadly in a nursing home because most if not all of the residents have compromised immune systems, which means that they can succumb to illness easier than individuals with normal immune systems.  When nursing homes fail to properly clean their facilities, or when staff fail to properly clean and care for residents, or even when staff fail to wash their hands between residents (yes, it happens and it’s gross!) bacteria can begin to grow unchecked and quickly spread through a facility.  This is particularly dangerous when the flu or other contagious colds, viruses, or conditions are spreading. It is also true when staff members transfer bacteria from one resident to another by not washing their hands.

Types of Poor Hygiene in a Nursing Home

There are three general types of poor hygiene issues in a nursing home:

Poor Hygiene of Residents – This includes bathing residents regularly, oral care, hair care, hygienic bathroom practices, and otherwise ensuring that residents are generally clean and well-kept.  Ensuring that wounds are kept clean and free of infection is also very important.

Poor Hygiene of Facilities – Nursing homes are busy places.  There are a lot of residents, guests, family, staff, caretakers, and other contractors which are going in and out of the facility.  Common areas where all of these individuals converge like hallway doors/handles, meeting rooms, living rooms, and meal halls all must be regularly cleaned.  Bathrooms and showers must also be properly maintained to ensure they are clean and orderly to prevent the spread of disease, which could quickly occur if a facility has poor hygienic practices.

Poor Hygiene of Employees – Believe it or not, many nursing home employees don’t wash their hands or even change gloves after working with one resident and going to the next, even after cleaning up one resident’s incontinent event and then moving to another. (If you don’t what I mean by this and need specifics…. call me).

Liability for Poor Hygiene in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes and rehabilitation centers are required to provide residents with a clean, safe, and homelike environment.  This is a basic principle of nursing home care and is, after all, one key reason why many people trust nursing homes with our loved ones.  When facilities leave areas filthy and in poor hygienic conditions, they are violating all three of these requirements.  As healthcare providers, nursing homes need to afford their residents reasonable and proper care.  The standard of care requires good hygiene of both residents and the facilities.  Failing to provide this could be the result in injuries or death to a resident.  If a resident’s injuries or wrongful death is proximately cause by the poor hygiene, the resident may have a case of Missouri nursing home abuse and neglect.  This could result in damages for the resident’s pain and suffering, medical bills, and wrongful death.  

If you believe that you or a loved one have been seriously injured or a loved one wrongfully killed due to poor hygiene at a nursing home, please call our St. Louis nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer by dialing (314) 334-1441 to learn how we can help you today.  Many times poor hygiene at a nursing home is only the tip of the iceberg, and there are frequently other and sometimes more dangerous issues like understaffing, poor training, and negligent hires. 

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