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Cook County Nursing Home Neglect LawyerIllinois nursing homes are responsible for providing their patients with everyday care and support. From feeding and cleaning to comfortable rest and intellectual enrichment, patients are often completely dependent on the staff in residential care facilities to meet their needs. Sadly, nursing homes are often not as diligent about providing excellent staff as they should be, leading to neglect and even abuse. 

One of the first places nursing home neglect often appears is in residents’ dental care. Regular dental care requires daily attention to minute details. Symptoms of derelict dental care appear quickly, making it hard to fake quality dental care where there is none. Problems that start in the mouth rarely stay there; dental problems often snowball into further, more serious issues. Elderly people are at particular risk of contracting illness and disease through poor dental care. Here are some common oral health problems in nursing home residents without proper dental care. 

Common Health Problems From Poor Dental Care

There is a well-established link between oral health and other areas of physical health, and an unhealthy mouth is often correlated with an unhealthy body. This is because dirty teeth and gums are easy conduits for bacteria into the bloodstream. Poor dental care can cause major health problems, including: 

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Chicago Nursing Home Abuse LawyerEveryone knows that the human body requires water. However, few realize just how quickly dehydration can occur. When a person’s body is already weakened due to age or illness, appropriate hydration is essential. Consequently, nursing home residents are at an especially high risk of dehydration-related consequences. Staff must be extra vigilant for signs of dehydration. If a resident is dehydrated, action must be taken immediately to prevent serious medical complications or death.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Nursing Homes

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it consumes. Elderly individuals already have lower levels of hydration and many take medications that further lower the volume of water in their bodies. Nursing homes must carefully monitor the amount of water residents consume and look out for signs of dehydration such as:

Cook County Nursing Home Neglect LawyerAlthough it is common, diabetes is a very serious medical condition. Diabetes is especially dangerous in elderly people or those with co-occurring medical conditions. Individuals who experience cognitive decline from dementia and related illness are also at increased risk of severe diabetes complications. These individuals may not recognize the signs of dangerously high or low blood sugar or be able to express their concerns to others. This is why it is so important for nursing home staff to monitor diabetic residents and provide consistently high-quality medical care to these vulnerable individuals. Nursing home neglect can lead to severe diabetes-related injuries or death.

Residents with Diabetes Need to Be Closely Monitored

Diabetes affects blood glucose levels and is often managed using insulin shots. Because the consequences of poorly managed diabetes are so great for elderly and sick people, nursing homes must be vigilant. Staff should help diabetic residents maintain normal blood sugar levels and prevent hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Diabetes can differ greatly from one person to the next, so nursing homes should have a personalized plan for each diabetic resident. The staff should regularly monitor the resident’s blood sugars using a glucose meter. According to the Mayo Clinic, blood sugar levels should be tested multiple times a day, including between meals and before going to sleep.

Insulin injections can be used to regulate blood sugar. However, misuse of insulin is life-threatening. One elderly woman died after staff at a senior living center gave her four doses of insulin due to miscommunication between staff. The woman’s blood sugar was so low that it would not even register on the monitor. Her body could not survive the extremely low blood sugar and she passed away.

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Cook County Nursing Home Abuse LawyerWhen we think of nursing home dangers, wandering and elopement, severe fall accidents, or other dramatic incidents may come to mind. However, in many cases, the most dangerous thing that a nursing home resident does each day occurs during mealtimes. Elderly individuals and those with disabilities may have difficulty chewing and swallowing food. While it may seem insignificant, something as simple as choking on a piece of food can be deadly for vulnerable nursing home residents. This is why it is so important for nursing home staff to carefully monitor residents during mealtimes and make any accommodations necessary to avoid choking.

If your loved one was injured or killed by a choking incident at a nursing home, read on to learn about your legal options.

Choking Hazards in Illinois Nursing Homes

Many nursing home residents are elderly. Many older individuals suffer from dry mouth which makes it harder to swallow food. Food can get stuck in the throat and block the airway. The problem is so common that choking is statistically the third-leading cause of unintentional injury death for people over the age of 65.  Candy, food, medications, and even water can be choking hazards for elderly people.

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elmhurst nursing home injury lawyerMost of us take the ability to chew and swallow our food for granted. We eat three times a day or more without thinking twice about whether eating poses a risk to our safety. But as bodies age, reductions in muscle mass and strength in the mouth and throat, combined with dental problems such as tooth loss, make elderly populations at a much higher risk of choking on food. Even babies and very young children are at substantially less risk of choking on food than an adult over age 65. 

This has especially significant implications for elderly residents of Illinois nursing homes who often require the assistance of nursing home staff to eat. When staff are overworked, undertrained, or left to monitor too many patients, nursing home residents may be improperly supervised and could choke on their food as a result. Sometimes, choking incidents are serious enough to be fatal

Choking Incidents Require Immediate Attention

When someone chokes on food, the food may partially or fully block the airway. If the food only partially blocks a person’s airway, they can usually cough and make noise. Often coughing is enough to move the food and clear the airway. 

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