Across the nation, a heat wave is indiscriminately scorching everything in its path. Savage heat like this frequently claims victims among the elderly. When it happens in an individuals home, it’s a tragedy. When it happens in a nursing home, it’s a crime.
A nursing home resident in Providence, Rhode Island died on a day when the outside temperature of the nursing home reached 95 degrees. According to the report from the NBC affiliate, the woman was in good health.
She was living on the fourth floor of the nursing home. It was the only floor without air conditioning. Two common rooms with air conditioning were located on the floor, but the victim was not brought to either room.
1) Visit often. Always visit loved ones in nursing homes as much as possible during a heatwave. Nursing homes often fail to alert family members when air conditioning equipment fails.
2) Keep him/her hydrated. Nursing homes are required to keep track of the amount of water and other liquids that nursing home residents drink. Check the charts to make sure they are getting all the liquid they need and have not become dehydrated.
3) Sponge baths. Of course, the nursing home is responsible for keeping your loved one clean, but a sponge bath is more about cooling then cleaning. A wet cloth can cool the skin and keep an overall temperature low.
4) Electric Fans. As a nursing home lawyer, I’ve spent countless hours in nursing homes meeting with families and residents. Even nursing homes with functioning air conditioning can be hot and stuffy. Large windows can provide enough light to heat a room many degrees higher than the rest of the facility. An electric fan can circulate the air enough to create a cooling breeze. Even though the temperature of the room doesn’t change, the motion of the air can make a resident much more comfortable.