Poor nursing home hygiene can often become a serious problem. In the presence of poor hygiene, germs are more likely to be spread to residents. In a nursing home setting, the immune systems of residents may already be compromised by preexisting medical conditions.
Poor Hygiene in Nursing Homes
The advanced age of elder patients further inhibits their immune system’s ability to repel germs. Many infections and medical complications suffered by nursing home residents may come as a result of improper hygiene. Furthermore, improper hygiene on the part of nursing home staff members can result in germs being passed from one resident to another. Oftentimes, hygiene deficiencies on the part of nursing home staff members can be related to understaffing at a nursing home facility.
Nursing Home Resident Care
Poor nursing home hygiene can have an ill effect on residents, especially when their personal hygiene is neglected. Many nursing home residents require help with tasks like changing clothes, going to the bathroom, having their bandages or diapers changed, and similar tasks. Poor hygiene may be present in cases where nursing home staff members leave residents in dirty clothing, fail to change their dirty diapers, do not bathe residents or fail to adequately clean their wounds.
Unclean Nursing Home Facilities
The physical environment of a nursing home facility may also present an area where hygiene is lacking. Bathrooms and shower areas that are not sanitized on a regular basis represent an area where germs and illnesses may spread among residents. Failure to properly clean areas where food is prepared, served and eaten may also contribute to the spread of illness at a nursing home. Tables, chairs and other surface that regularly undergo heavy human contact should all be cleaned on a regular basis in order to avoid passage of germs among residents.
Understaffing & Poor Nursing Home Hygiene
Some studies have shown a link between poor hygiene in nursing home facilities and improper staffing. When nursing home staff members are rushed and do not have enough help, they may fail to wash their hands on a regular basis. They may either feel that they are too busy to do so or may simply forget to do so because of their workload. As a result, they may be more likely to spread germs to residents.
Some studies suggest that facilities with a lower staff- to-resident ratio have better hygiene ratings. Poor hygiene at nursing homes may in some cases be directly related to an insufficient amount of staff to handle the duties of maintaining cleanliness in the facility. In these cases, a nursing home may be liable for health incidents that come as a result of improper hygiene.
High turnover in the nursing home aide profession can also contribute to improper or incomplete knowledge of proper hygiene. Employees may be added with such rapidity that they lack proper training and experience and make mistakes on the job as a result. Infections and other resident health issues may then follow.
Poor Nursing Home Hygiene Lawsuits
Many of the lawsuits filed against nursing homes involve a claim of neglect. Poor hygiene in a nursing home facility is considered a type of neglect. A neglect claim can reference failure by staff to keep facilities clean. A lawsuit of this type may also involve medical complications that come as a result of improper hygiene at a nursing home. Additionally, neglect lawsuits may center around a nursing home’s failure to adequately staff their facility.
The decision to file a lawsuit against a nursing home is often best made with the help of a qualified attorney. If a loved one has been injured or suffers premature death as a result of improper hygiene at a nursing home facility, a lawsuit may be the logical next step. A lawsuit may result in the award of damages aimed at compensating a loved one and their family.
Castle, Nicholas, and Laura Wagner. “Hand Hygiene Deficiency Citations in Nursing Homes.” Journal of Applied Gerontology. (2012): n. page. Web. 23 May. 2013. http://jag.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/08/01/0733464812449903.abstract
“Hand Hygiene.” Virginia Department of Health. Virginia Department of Health, 7 9 2012. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/surveillance/hai/HandHygiene.htm