As the population ages, more and more seniors are living in nursing homes. While these facilities provide needed care and support for both medical needs and everyday tasks, they can also pose significant risks to the health of their residents. Every year, thousands of families go through the process of filing lawsuits over cases of sepsis, medication errors, abuse, and plenty of other issues faced by nursing home residents. To protect the health of your loved ones, it’s important to understand the risks they face.
Falls are a significant risk for seniors in nursing homes. Many seniors have mobility issues and balance problems that make them more prone to falls. Nursing homes must take steps to prevent falls, such as installing grab bars and non-slip surfaces in bathrooms, clearing clutter from hallways, and providing mobility aids like wheelchairs and walkers. They should also ensure that residents have proper supervision to prevent these sorts of accidents.
Malnutrition is a significant problem for seniors in nursing homes. Many seniors have difficulty eating or have dietary restrictions that make it challenging to get the nutrients they need. Nursing homes must provide nutritious meals and snacks that meet the unique dietary needs of each resident. They should also monitor residents' weight and nutritional status to ensure that they are getting the right amount of food and nutrients.
Dehydration is another significant risk for seniors in nursing homes. Many seniors have difficulty drinking enough fluids, either because they forget or because they have mobility issues that make it difficult to get to the water fountain or bathroom. Nursing homes must encourage residents to drink water throughout the day and provide easy access to water and other fluids.
Infections are a significant risk for seniors in nursing homes. Many seniors have weakened immune systems that make them more susceptible to infections. Nursing homes must take steps to prevent the spread of infections, such as washing their hands regularly, using gloves and other protective equipment when necessary, and keeping shared spaces clean and disinfected. They should also be sure to monitor the health of residents closely so that they can catch any infections they contract early before they worsen and become more serious—or even fatal.
Medication errors are a significant risk for seniors in nursing homes. Many seniors take multiple medications, and it can be challenging to keep track of all of them. If mistakes are made, it could greatly impact the health of the residents. Nursing homes must have a system in place to ensure that residents receive the correct medications at the right time and in the right dosage. They should also monitor residents for medication side effects and interactions.
Abuse and neglect
Abuse and neglect are significant risks for seniors in nursing homes. Some staff members may mistreat or neglect residents, leading to physical, emotional, or psychological harm. This kind of treatment creates a higher risk for additional health issues and adds a greater potential for accidents to occur–like residents falling or choking while unsupervised. Nursing homes must have policies to prevent abuse and neglect, and they should train staff members to recognize signs of abuse and report it promptly.
Social isolation is a significant risk for seniors in nursing homes. Many seniors have limited social contact with friends and family members, which can lead to loneliness and depression. To combat this, nursing homes must provide opportunities for residents to socialize and engage in activities that they enjoy.
Bedsores are a significant risk for seniors in nursing homes. Many seniors spend a lot of time in bed or a wheelchair, which can lead to pressure sores. Nursing homes must take steps to prevent bedsores, such as turning residents frequently, providing pressure-relieving mattresses and cushions, and keeping skin clean and dry.
Cognitive decline is a significant risk for seniors in nursing homes. Many seniors have dementia or other cognitive impairments that can lead to memory loss, confusion, and other problems. Nursing homes must provide appropriate care and support for residents with cognitive impairments, such as memory care programs, cognitive therapy, and activities that stimulate the brain. For residents without cognitive impairments, it’s important to keep them socially and mentally stimulated and engaged to help lower their risk of cognitive decline.
Lack of exercise
Lack of exercise is a significant risk for seniors in nursing homes. Many seniors have mobility issues that make it challenging to get enough physical activity. Still, regular exercise is an incredibly important factor in overall health. Nursing homes must provide opportunities for residents to exercise, such as chair exercises, walking programs, and other low-impact activities.