While these are all common symptoms of nursing home neglect, the conversation frequently misses the underlying causes of all these conditions: dehydration and malnutrition. The failure to provide adequately for the nutritional needs of the residents can be the root cause that ultimately leads to their injury or, in many cases, death.
Bed sores, for example, are commonly associated with the immobile conditions that many nursing home residents live in on a daily basis. When a part of the body is resting on a surface for an extended period of time, an open sore can develop. Over a shockingly short time, the sore can grow exponentially and eventually prove fatal. What isn’t well known is this: a lack of proper hydration and nutrients is what allows the pressure ulcer the opportunity to develop.
Nursing home falls also frequently have poor diet and nutrition as an underlying case. A lack of protein is a key factor in muscle loss. When residents become weaker, they become much more likely to become victims of nursing home falls.
People who live at home can go a long time without encountering someone with more than the average cold. In a nursing home or hospital it isn’t rare to encounter someone with some kind of communicable illness. The adage that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” may seem simplistic and trite, but maintaining a strong immune system is of the utmost importance in an environment like a nursing home or hospital.
Even environmental conditions can become deadly if proper hydration and nutrition are not being observed. Recently, an Illinois nursing home was evacuated during an oppressive heat wave. The nursing home had no central air conditioning and temperatures inside the facility skyrocketed. If the Illinois Department of Public Health hadn’t shut the facility down, it’s easy to imagine the situation becoming life threatening.
At the law offices of Barry Doyle, we know how important proper hydration and nutrition are to the health of nursing home residents. If you have a loved one who you feel may have experienced Illinois nursing home neglect or abuse, contact my law offices for a free and confidential evaluation of your case.