When we read about nursing home abuse in the news, there are often references to physical violence, sexual abuse or other types of mistreatment. However, it is important to remember that elder abuse often includes deprivation of life’s basic needs such as housing, quality food and hygienic living conditions.
The elderly are extremely prone to infections and other diseases. This is particularly true of those who are frail or have compromised immune systems. Failing to provide clean living conditions amounts to nursing home abuse in Pennsylvania and facilities that abuse or neglect elderly, vulnerable residents in this manner must be held accountable.
What Are the Red Flags?
When you choose a nursing home for your loved one, it is important that you visit the facility at different times of day and different days of the week to seek how it’s being maintained on an ongoing basis. It is also a good idea to visit your loved one after you have enrolled him or her in the nursing home. This will help you look out for potential red flags such as soiled bedding, bed sores, dirty clothing, bed bugs, body lice, repeated infections, rapid weight loss, foul-smelling rooms, lack of hygiene in bathrooms, etc. These are all telltale signs that your loved one’s living conditions are unsanitary and maybe, even dangerous.
Common Causes of Unsanitary Conditions
One of the most common causes of unsanitary living conditions in nursing homes is the understaffing of these facilities. When a nursing home or assisted living facility lacks sufficient trained staff to care for vulnerable, elderly residents, the consequences can be devastating or even deadly for the residents. Some for-profit nursing homes tend to skimp on cleaning supplies and proper, trained staff to save money and maximize their profits. These are also the types of nursing homes that don’t care about the basic needs of residents, fail to properly vet employees before hiring them and fail to make sure that they adhere to health and safety standards.
Holding Nursing Homes Accountable
Unsanitary conditions in nursing homes should never be taken lightly. Many people don’t realize it. But when nursing home residents live in such deplorable conditions, their mortality rates tend to be higher. This is because unhygienic conditions lead to infections, which could be fatal. When a nursing home resident is made to lie in dirty or soiled sheets, he or she may develop rashes and bed sores, which could cause a lethal infection. Nursing home residents deserve to live in healthy and dignified conditions and neglecting them to make a quick buck is never acceptable.
If your loved one has been neglected in a nursing home and has suffered illnesses as a result, you may be able to file a Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawsuit seeking justice and compensation. If you have lost a loved one as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to hold the at-fault nursing home accountable as well. An experienced Pennsylvania nursing home lawyer will be able to help you understand your legal rights and options.