Nursing homes exist because many older adults require support as they age. Their family members may not live close enough or have the time to meet their daily needs. Particularly when people have Alzheimer’s disease or mobility limitations, living in a nursing home or similar long-term care facility may be necessary for their safety and overall health.
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes provide the same standard of care. With so many people living in a small space, there are constant demands on employees’ time. Many nursing home workers have to make the difficult choice between meeting the immediate needs of residents and maintaining the facilities. Improper or inadequate sanitation and cleaning may ultimately lead to preventable illnesses and infestations.
Concentrated populations are at elevated risk
Anytime there are many people occupying the same space, the risk is there for infestations and infections to pass rapidly through the population. Just like college dorms may see a cold spread among the students in a matter of days, similar issues can arise in nursing homes.
However, unlike young adults in the prime of their lives, those living in nursing homes often have compromised immune function and even mobility challenges that put them at elevated risk. An illness that would only cause a temporary setback for younger adults could lead to the hospitalization of a vulnerable older adult. Infestations that nearly seem annoying to younger people could have devastating medical consequences for elder adults.
Regular cleaning and sanitation of spaces are crucial for health and safety in a nursing home. So is proper hygiene for the residents. Even the ability of staff members to clean up themselves in between caring for different residents can make the difference between pests and pathogens running rampant at a facility or remaining under control. If the companies running nursing homes don’t have enough workers on hand, the residents could end up suffering serious medical issues as a result.
When better cleaning or more staffing may have prevented an illness or infestation that harmed an older adult, the situation may meet the necessary standard to take legal action against a facility. Holding nursing homes accountable for endangering or sickening residents might eventually prompt them to change their business practices.