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Are Nursing Homes a Dangerous Place?

Many families in the United States turn to assisted living communities and nursing home facilities to help care for their elderly parents and loved ones. There’s no doubt that they want their loved ones to receive the best care possible, but they cannot provide the care themselves because of work, children, familial obligations, and other responsibilities. Many seniors also have age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, that require special medical care that the relatives cannot provide. Nursing homes help alleviate the burden and stresses that caring for the elderly and the infirm can bring. At least, that’s what nursing homes are designed to do. But can these facilities also be a danger to your loved one’s health and safety?

Nursing home facilities are required to pass annual safety inspections to ensure that the residents and staff are not exposed to environmental risks. However, due to the nature of the facility, some risks still remain.

Slip and Falls

Nursing homes are some of the most common places where slip and fall accidents can occur. Without the proper support, railing, and wheelchair assistance, many elderly residents may slip or fall on uneven or slippery surfaces and sustain injuries.

Work Overload Effects

It has been the opinion of many residents and their families that nursing homes are commonly understaffed. While nurses should provide care to only a few patients at a time, many nursing homes have as many as ten or twenty patients receiving care by a single staff member. This causes the quality of the care to decline, and many residents end up receiving group therapy or treatment, as opposed to individual, customized care. The work overload of the staff members due to understaffing also causes fatigue and exhaustion on the job, which can lead to errors in prescribing medications, food allergies, and resident supervision.

Chemical or Toxic Exposure

For health and hygiene reasons, nursing homes are required to keep their facilities sterile and clean. However, many cleaning agents used in nursing homes, such as ethylene oxide, have harmful toxins and chemicals which may be harmful to both the staff and residents’ health. The risk from cleaning chemicals is most prevalent when the chemicals are used in close quarters without ventilation. This can affect individuals with respiratory issues, allergies, and even skin conditions.

Spread of Disease

Many nursing home facilities pose risks of infectious disease to both residents and staff workers. In addition to needing basic care, many elderly residents also have medical conditions which may be contagious.  Infections and diseases can spread rapidly in a nursing home due to the frequency of contact between residents and staff, the amount of people in the facility, and lowered immunity. Due to age, seniors often have weakened immune systems which can make them prone to infection.

King Law Firm is experienced in helping families in Central Florida recover compensation for injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of nursing home neglect, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us for more information.

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