The World Health Organization reported that about one in six seniors experiences elder abuse in several community settings such as nursing homes. Among the types of elder abuse experienced, nursing home neglect is one of the most prevalent. Poor hygiene has been reported in many nursing homes, which puts the seniors living there at risk.
The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home can be a very difficult one. Many people only do it as a last resort when they cannot take an ailing loved one into their own home. When moving a loved one into a nursing home is the only option, it would certainly make things easier to know that they will be well cared for in their new home. Unfortunately, in far too many nursing homes, this is not the case.
Poor hygiene and other forms of elder abuse are not a new problem in nursing homes. These issues have plagued care facilities for decades. In addition to carefully researching the nursing home before moving your loved one in, you should pay them regular visits. The more you are there, the less likely your loved one is to suffer any form of abuse.
Poor Hygiene Is a Form of Nursing Home Neglect
Poor hygiene in a nursing home is an indication of neglect. In some cases, the abuse is a deliberate act, with employees who truly do not care about the residents. Other times, though, the neglect occurs because the nursing home is understaffed. The overworked nursing assistants do their best, but they simply cannot keep up with the workload.
Residents with more daily needs tend to get more attention while other residents are mostly forgotten. Proper cleanliness is often the last thing attended to in these facilities, especially in areas the staff does not visit daily.
The U.S. has more than 1.5 million elderly citizens living in long-term care facilities. With the high turnover of nursing assistants and other staff, these seniors face continued neglect. Given the already vulnerable state of people aged 60 and above, poor hygiene can easily have an adverse effect on their health.
Poor hygiene takes several forms. Some of the typical types of poor hygiene in nursing homes include:
- Improper sanitization of the food preparation area
- Dirty shower and bathroom facilities
- Failure to clean the common areas such as living rooms and bedrooms
Nursing homes should maintain the highest standards on matters relating to cleanliness. Proper sanitation and hygiene should be a priority. It is crucial to train all the staff about proper sanitation. This training should incorporate cleanliness and correct medical and biological waste disposal.
Signs of Poor Hygiene in Nursing Homes
When you have a loved one living in a nursing home, you will want to be on the lookout for signs of abuse, when you visit them. There are some observable signs of neglect that are easy to detect.
If they have unwashed clothes or dirty hair, then the chances are that they are not getting the best care. Body odor can be another sign that indicates your loved one is suffering from neglect. Caregivers in nursing homes should ensure that all residents are clean every other day.
Any sign of poor grooming can be an indication of a deeper issue. You need to address the problem immediately, as it is a serious form of nursing home abuse. During your visits, check where your elderly parent sleeps, bathes, or rests most of the day to ensure that the environment is safe and clean.
When your loved one is in a nursing home due to failures of the body but still has a sharp mind, talk to them. They will be let you know if conditions at the nursing home are less than optimal.
When your loved one suffers from dementia or other failures of their mental faculties, you might want to seek out other residents. A nursing home resident with a failing mind is more likely to suffer abuses from staff. However, a clear-headed resident will be aware of abuses, even if they are not the direct victim.
Addressing Nursing Home Neglect
Unfortunately, nursing home neglect often goes unreported. Only about five percent of victims of elder abuse report their abuser. The two primary reasons that most elder abuse goes unreported is due to fear and confusion.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse at a nursing home, it is essential to collect all evidence you can find. Have the details and pursue the case, as abuse in nursing homes is illegal. File a report with the relevant authorities and hire a lawyer to represent your loved one’s interests.
Poor Hygiene in Nursing Homes Is Prevalent
The problem of poor hygiene in nursing homes is on the rise. This trend is likely related to the growing disparity between the number of residents in nursing homes and the number of staff members. It is essential to vet a nursing home well before placing your elderly parent or spouse in one.
How to Protect Your Loved One
The best protection you can offer to someone living in a nursing home is to visit them often. Your presence in the nursing home protects your loved one in several different ways.
First of all, by making frequent visits to the nursing home, you can get a clear picture of whether your loved one is suffering any form of abuse. You will see them regularly and notice if their health or mood seems to be declining.
You can get to know staff and advocate for your loved one. If your loved one has a need that is not being met you can talk to a staff member about the problem. You can get to know the staff members that are more helpful and those that fail to provide adequate responses.
By making frequent visits, you can also provide less opportunity for any potentially abusive staff members to harm your loved one in any way. Making surprise unannounced visits is a great way to keep staff on their toes and make sure they are on their best behavior at all times.
Everyone wants what is best for the people they love. When you have no other option but to put your loved one in a nursing home, you want to know that they are safe. Continuing to be present in their lives not only offers them protection, but the visits also help to increase their quality of life.
With a law degree under his belt and years of experience, Mark Scott set off to make the law more accessible to all. He decided to help people lost in the maze of legal terminology to find their way. Mark writes clear and concise pieces and gives simple advice that is easy to follow. On account of positive feedback from readers, he decided to dedicate more of his time to this goal and became a legal columnist. In his writings, Mark covers a wide array of topics, like how to seek legal counsel, or how to deal with different procedures. Furthermore, he directs his readers toward other trustworthy resources for more in-depth information.