Elderly persons and their families often turned to nursing home care when performing self care, including administering medication, bathing, going to the bathroom, or preparing and eating food are no longer possible for the elderly person to perform on their own. Indeed, this is precisely why nursing home centers exist: to provide aged and ill persons with a high level of care, and to provide around-the-clock supervision and assistance.
Unfortunately, however, nursing homes are often understaffed, and have more patients than nurses and other staff members are adequately able to care for. As such, not all nursing home residents receive the care they need, and often suffer from myriad symptoms and effects of neglect.
Neglect can be hard for an elderly loved one’s family members to recognize; after all, the signs and effects of neglect often take longer to fully develop, whereas abuse typically has more immediate signs. One sign of neglect that family members should keep an eye out for both when selecting a nursing home for an elderly person, and after admitting a loved one into a nursing home, includes odors of feces and urine.
NURSING HOM NEGLECT AND LACK OF PROPER RESIDENT HYGIENE
Many nursing home residents lack mobility, which means that moving from one room to another, or from a bed to an accessible toilet, can be impossible to do on their own. The same is true for bathing – a large majority of nursing home residents require assistance when performing any type of self care, including all tasks related to personal hygiene. While it can be very embarrassing for an elderly person, it is simply a fact that using the restroom on one’s own is not always possible, and as such the elderly person may require frequent assistance, and may require the use adult diapers.
The problem arises when there is an inadequate number of nursing home nurses and other staff members to provide elderly persons with the assistance and level of care they need. The urge to need the restroom is completely predictable and understandable, and cannot be prevented. What’s more, many elderly persons do not have bowel or bladder control. This means that nursing home staff members need to be frequently checking on residents to see if a restroom is needed, or to change undergarments and provide hygienic services.
If staff is overburdened with residents’ needs, some nursing home patients may go hours–or in the worst of cases, a day or more–without receiving the assistance that they need. This not only contributes to an odor of feces and urine, but can also be very uncomfortable for the elderly person, and can lead to adult diaper rash. Furthermore, leaving someone who does not have an ability to take action otherwise sitting in their own urine or feces is downright cruel. And at the offices of the Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm LLC, we believe the act is completely unacceptable.
URIN ODORS IN NURSING HOMES MAY BE INDICATIVE OF OTHER ACTS OF NEGLECT, TOO
It is not just an odor of bodily waste that those who visit a nursing home should be aware of; any body odors, negative changes in health condition, weight loss, sunken features, emotional changes such as the development of depression, and more can all be signs that the elderly person is not receiving the care they need, and is instead being neglected. While the neglect may not be intentional–nurses have few options when they are assigned to multiple patients during a single shift–it is unacceptable, and action should be taken to ensure that every elderly person residing with a care facility receives the attention and care they deserve.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUSPECT NURSING HOME NEGLECT?
If you suspect that elderly neglect is occurring, it is important that you act quickly. Elder neglect in a nursing home facility can lead to physical and emotional health deterioration, which can increase the risk of injury and death. Steps that you should take if you suspect nursing home neglect include:
- Document all signs of neglect. Write down what you see or smell, and be specific about dates, times, number of staff members, affected patients, etc.
- Speak with a nursing home supervisor or manager. If you suspect that neglect of your loved one or others in a nursing home is occurring, don’t hesitate to speak up. Speaking with a supervisor or manager may be all it takes to get another nurse hired on, to change a practice that isn’t serving residents well, or for another positive action to take place.
- File a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Health. When neglect or abuse is occurring within a nursing home, sometimes speaking to nurses or nursing home managers isn’t enough. If you believe that you have done all you can to put an end to the neglect and that the nursing home facility is truly breaching its duty of care to its patients, you should consider filing a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Health. Taking action quickly is important, as there are time limits on what the Department of Health may be able to investigate. Once your complaint is filed, an investigation will ensue, which will hopefully result in alleviation of the problem.
- Talk with an attorney to explore your legal options. When a nursing home breaches the standard of care that is owed to a patient, and that patient suffers harm as a result, the nursing home can be held liable for all damages. If neglect has led to patient harm, talking with an experienced Minnesota nursing home neglect attorney is a wise idea, as an attorney can help you to explore your legal options and the process of filing a nursing home neglect case.
CALL OUR MINNESOTA NURSING HOME NEGLECT ATTORNEYS TODAY
Seeing a loved one harmed in a nursing home as a result of nursing home neglect can be a shocking experience. At the offices of the Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm LLC, our aggressive nursing home neglect attorneys serving Plymouth and surrounding areas of Minnesota are just as horrified by the idea of nursing home neglect as you are. To schedule a free consultation with our legal team, please call or email us today, and we will reply to your inquiry promptly.