If your loved one lives in a nursing home, you rely on staff members to provide the best possible care. Unfortunately, it takes just one neglectful staff member to make a nursing home a dangerous place for residents. Although infections are very common in elderly people, repeated infections in nursing home residents are a potential sign of neglect. If your loved one experiences any of these infections more than once, contact a personal injury lawyer with experience handling cases of nursing home neglect.
Infected Pressure Sores
Nursing home residents are very susceptible to pressure sores because they spend a lot of time sitting in wheelchairs or lying in bed. Prolonged contact with a bed or another surface cuts off blood flow to the skin, resulting in the development of open sores. If your loved one has a pressure sore, nursing home staff members are responsible for treating it and taking steps to prevent additional sores from developing. In cases of neglect, a pressure sore can become infected, increasing the risk for a life-threatening systemic infection called sepsis.
Residents of nursing homes are particularly susceptible to pneumonia, an infection that causes inflammation of the lungs, because their immune systems do not work as well as those of younger people. Living in close proximity to people with infections also increases the risk that pneumonia will spread throughout a nursing home. If your loved one develops pneumonia, it is not an absolute sign of neglect, but it is the responsibility of the nursing home to provide adequate treatment. Persistent bouts of pneumonia are a cause for concern, especially if your loved one has another serious illness.
Urinary Tract Infections
It is not unusual for a nursing home resident to have an indwelling catheter, which is a tube that drains urine into a bag. The presence of an indwelling catheter increases the risk for urinary tract infections, especially if the catheter site is not cleaned properly. Frequent urinary tract infections are an indicator that staff members might be providing inadequate care for your loved one. If you suspect neglect, ask your loved one how often staff members check the indwelling catheter and clean the skin around it.
If your loved one develops an infection, it does not automatically mean neglect has occurred, However, it should prompt you to be more vigilant when you speak to your loved one on the telephone or visit the nursing home in person. If you notice staff members neglecting their duties, or the facility is not as clean as it should be, contact a personal injury lawyer. An experienced lawyer from a firm like Madigan & Scott Inc. can help you hold neglectful nursing home employees responsible for their actions.