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IL nursing home abuse lawyerWhen people think about nursing home and neglect, images of overmedicated or malnourished residents may come to mind. However, nursing home neglect is not always this obvious. In fact, one of the least visible forms of nursing home negligence is also one of the most dangerous. The problem of inadequate sanitation may not be immediately obvious, but it can have deadly consequences for residents. When nursing home staff do not keep the facility clean, viruses and bacteria can spread rapidly endangering the lives of the residents who call the facility home.

Residents Are Vulnerable to Illness and Infection

Everyone knows that it is important to wash your hands frequently in order to prevent the spread of disease. Proper hygiene is especially crucial for workers in medical facilities such as nursing homes. When nursing home staff fail to wash their hands between assisting residents, they can transfer pathogens from one resident to the next. If the facility itself is not properly sanitized, germs have the opportunity to multiply and spread throughout the building. Residents who are elderly or have weakened immune systems are particularly prone to disease and infections. They can become sick rapidly. If staff do not recognize the signs of the illness and provide the necessary medical treatment right away, the illness could prove fatal.

Unsanitary conditions in nursing homes are often the result of overworked and undertrained employees. Many nursing homes are extremely understaffed. Staff may fail to practice good hygiene or maintain a sanitary facility because they forget this essential task or because they wrongly assume that sanitation is not a high priority.

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IL nursing home abuse lawyerChicago is known for its harsh winters, but the summer weather can be just as unbearable. Temperatures frequently rise to the 80s and 90s in the summer months which can present a major health hazard to elderly and disabled individuals. Nursing home residents are often particularly vulnerable to extreme temperatures because their bodies are weakened by age and illness. If a nursing home resident wanders into an area of the facility that is not air-conditioned or properly ventilated or leaves the facility, he or she may suffer deadly health conditions in a matter of minutes.

Residents Who are Not Properly Supervised May Suffer Heatstroke

The older we get, the less our bodies are able to regulate our internal temperature. Elderly nursing home residents and those with chronic health conditions are often unable to tolerate the heat. Residents with cognitive impairment are at an increased risk of heatstroke because they may not realize that it is unsafe for them to go outside. If residents are not properly supervised, they may elope from the nursing home facility and into the dangerous weather. Heatstroke or sunstroke is a condition caused by the body overheating. Without immediate medical treatment, heatstroke causes major damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, and often results in death.

Dehydration is a Critical Concern in Nursing Homes

Another grave concern for nursing home residents in the summer heat is dehydration. Residents with marked cognitive decline may actually forget to drink water if they are not frequently reminded to do so. Problems with swallowing or mobility concerns may also lead to inadequate water intake. Many nursing home residents are also on medications that increase the amount of water that is excreted from the body which can make them especially at risk of dehydration. Nursing home staff must ensure that residents are drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated. They should also carefully monitor residents for signs of dehydration such as infrequent urination, dry mouth, low blood pressure, and unusually pale skin. If a nursing home’s failure to prevent heat-related illnesses such as dehydration or heatstroke leads to a resident’s death or injury, the nursing home may be legally responsible for the harm caused.

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IL nursing home abuse lawyerInfections are a constant concern in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Nursing Home residents are often elderly and in poor health. This means that their bodies are not able to fight infections the way that a healthy person’s body could. Infections may develop into a condition called sepsis, which is often fatal. If your loved one was injured or killed due to a sepsis infection while living in a nursing home, you may choose to bring a nursing home injury claim or wrongful death claim.

What Is Sepsis?

Infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or other pathogens may cause the body to release chemicals into the bloodstream that are extremely harmful. This bodily response is called sepsis. Infections of the skin caused by bedsores, urinary tract infections, or other infections can potentially cause sepsis. Without prompt and aggressive medical treatment, sepsis can lead to severe damage including organ failure and death. Individuals over age 65 and people with chronic medical conditions such as cancer or diabetes are at the highest risk of developing sepsis. A nursing home resident with sepsis may experience fever, high heart rate, weakness, disorientation, and terrible pain. Sepsis can also lead to septic shock which is often fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that sepsis kills over 250,000 people in the U.S. every year.

When Is a Nursing Home Liable for a Resident Developing Sepsis?

Not every nursing home resident infection can be prevented. However, hospitals have a legal obligation to prevent resident infections whenever possible. Nursing home staff should take precautions to eliminate the spread of germs in the facility. This includes regularly sanitizing the facility and practicing proper hygiene such as hand washing between patients. Bedsores should be avoided by regularly repositioning residents who are unable to do so themselves. If a resident does develop an infection, staff should quickly address the issue. Resident infections that are ignored can lead to horrific suffering and an increased risk of death. If your loved one developed sepsis due to the negligent actions of a nursing home, a personal injury claim may enable you to hold the negligent facility accountable for the wrongdoing while also recovering compensation for you or your loved one.

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Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysWhen physical and mental conditions cause an individual to be unable to live on their own or care for themselves, they may require the round-the-clock care nursing homes offer. Placing a loved one in a nursing home, assisted living home, or other long-term care facility is one of the hardest decisions a family can make. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you may wonder about your loved one’s quality of life, how their health issues are being addressed, and whether or not staff are treating your loved one with the respect he or she deserves.

While many nursing home workers are compassionate and competent, tragically, some nursing home staff are negligent or even abusive towards residents. In one recent Snapchat video, nursing home staff are seen openly mocking a resident and shoving a nightgown in her face. The family of the elderly resident is suing the facility at which the alleged abuse occurred for more than $1 million.

Family Alleges Nursing Home Staff Taunted and Frightened 91-Year-Old Resident

We expect nurses, nurse’s aides, assistants, and caregivers to treat nursing home residents with compassion and respect. Not only is this the ethical and humane way to treat the sick and elderly, it is also required by law. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act describes the rights which nursing home residents must be afforded as well as the responsibilities that nursing home staff have to residents.

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