Signs of failure to attend to personal hygiene include dirty clothes or bedding, unwashed hair, overgrown nails, foul breath, body odor, or smelling like urine or feces.
In many cases, poor personal hygiene can lead to infections like bacterial pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTI), influenza, and bed sores or pressure ulcers. In elderly people, these infections may manifest through a changed mental state, increased falls or increased risk of falls, loss of appetite, and incontinence. Besides these infections, poor personal hygiene can also cause illness, rashes, lice, chronic diarrhea, ring worm, and scabies.
Unsanitary nursing home conditions spread germs and lead to increased risk of contagion, which can be extremely serious and sometimes even fatal for the elderly. Nursing home residents are particularly susceptible to germs and infection, which is why nursing homes should take extra care to attend to residents’ personal hygiene. Personal hygiene includes physical and dental hygiene.
Failure to attend to personal hygiene in Georgia nursing homes means that the facility is guilty of neglect towards its residents. An experienced attorney could further explain this violation of the laws regulating Georgia nursing homes.
To prevent failure to attend to personal hygiene, nursing homes should follow standard practices like hand washing and sanitizing surfaces.
Additionally, nursing homes should employ enough staff to care individually for each resident. And nursing homes should supervise caregivers to make sure they attend to residents’ personal hygiene and follow the nursing home’s sanitation guidelines. Nursing homes should educate caregivers on the importance of hygiene and sanitation, and train new employees to practice proper hygiene. To ensure personal hygiene is a top priority, nursing homes may also wish to post reminders around the facility.
Nursing home caregivers should regularly change residents’ bedding and provide them with clean clothes. Caregivers should also help residents bathe, brush and floss their teeth, wash their hands, and attend to other personal hygiene matters, as needed. Some residents may need special assistance in maintaining hygiene, and caregivers should be aware and ready to assist.
Furthermore, nursing homes should develop a specific care plan for each resident, and this plan should include details on how to maintain good hygiene for the resident.
A nursing home that neglects its residents’ personal hygiene may be held responsible for any consequences, including infection, illness, and death. By state law, nursing homes are required to provide their residents with a certain standard of care, and failure to attend to personal hygiene violates that standard. Nursing home residents are also entitled to specific rights, such as the right to dignity, which are infringed upon when personal hygiene is neglected.
A nursing home may be held responsible for failing to educate caregivers and train new employees about resident hygiene, and may be held responsible for failing to make sure staff followed good hygiene practices. Nursing homes are also responsible for employing enough staff to attend to residents’ hygienic needs, and for developing personal care plans, which include a hygiene plan, for each resident.
A nursing home which neglects a resident’s hygiene may be required to provide financial compensation for any resulting medical bills, pain, and suffering experienced by the resident as a result of the nursing home’s failure to attend to personal hygiene.
Failure to attend to personal hygiene often occurs when nursing homes are understaffed. When there are too few caregivers to attend to residents’ needs, personal hygiene is one of the first things to suffer. Staff may not have time to care adequately for each resident, or they may be overworked and attempt to make things easier on themselves by neglecting hygiene. In some cases, they may simply forget to attend to a resident’s personal hygiene.
Caregivers may also be uneducated about proper hygiene. Sometimes, nursing homes forget or neglect to train new employees when it comes to personal hygiene and sanitation practices.
Knowing the serious consequences of poor hygiene for the elderly, it can be difficult to understand why nursing homes would neglect this aspect of caring for their residents. Nursing homes may hire fewer staff members to try and cut costs, increase profit, or lower the cost of nursing home services for residents and their families. Since training new employees takes time and resources, nursing homes may also neglect to educate staff for the same reasons.
If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of failure to attend to personal hygiene, you should call Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation and report the nursing home for neglect. Explain why you believe the nursing home is neglectful, including the signs of poor hygiene you have observed.
After reporting the nursing home, consider calling one of our Georgia nursing home neglect lawyers for a consultation. If your loved one has been neglected through a failure to attend to personal hygiene, he or she may be able to receive monetary compensation from the nursing home. An experienced lawyer who handles failure to attend to personal hygiene in Georgia nursing homes will be able to tell you whether or not you have a case and help you decide whether to file a claim.
Of course, you should also make sure your loved one is taken care of physically. If poor hygiene has resulted in infection or illness, get your loved one medical treatment as soon as possible. You may wish to contact an ombudsman to help you confront the nursing home and advocate for your loved one’s basic rights on a community level.