In a nursing home, you expect your loved one to get the care they need. You expect the staff to recognize if they are feeling unwell and to take steps to be sure they’re eating and drinking normally.
If your family member suffers serious injuries from urinary tract infections, pneumonia or other common infections, it is possible that the nursing home could be, at least partially, to blame.
Adequate nursing home care may help prevent the spread of disease
In a nursing home, it’s common to see elderly people who are having trouble eating and drinking as much as they need to for their health. In some nursing homes, this means that the elderly need intravenous fluids or to have new meal plans designed to help make it easier for them to eat and drink.
The problem with not eating or drinking enough is that it can make the person more susceptible to infections. Dehydration, for example, may lead to urinary tract infections. Left untreated, these can cause significant damage to the kidneys or turn into sepsis. Sepsis is life-threatening.
Malnutrition can also leave people open to infection, as any minor injuries they suffer may not heal as well as they would normally. Soft tissue injuries may become infected more easily. Sores, such as bedsores, may not heal well or at all if the person’s not able to eat or drink enough to help their body ward off infection and begin the healing process.
Nursing homes are responsible for the care of those who are at their most vulnerable. If your loved one suffers from an infection, you should look into the care they are receiving and the plan to help them get better. If the infection is severe, then that may be a sign that your loved one has been sick for multiple days and that their illness was ignored or left untreated.
In some cases, infections can be a sign of mistreatment or neglect, so it is worth talking to the nursing home’s director to find out what’s being done to prevent illnesses like this in the future. If you believe negligence or abuse took place, you may want to look into transferring your loved one to a new facility and learning more about their legal options.