Poor Hygiene

Hygiene in the Nursing Home

The problem of poor nursing home hygiene is a serious one.

If residents are allowed to live under conditions of poor hygiene, they are more likely to catch germs that can cause diseases that are then spread to other nursing home residents. In a nursing facility setting, the residents’ immune systems are usually more compromised than young people and they are more likely to become sick from having poor hygiene.

Poor Hygiene in the Nursing Facility

Residents of nursing facilities are usually suffering from an array of conditions related to their advanced age. Their immune systems are not properly equipped to handle an onslaught of germs that can arise out of having poor hygiene.

In addition, poor hygiene from nursing facility staff members who do not engage in adequate hygiene can cause germs to be passed from the staff members to the residents. Usually, deficiencies in the hygiene by members of the nursing home staff are directly related to understaffing in the nursing home environment.

Resident Care in the Nursing Home

If there is poor hygiene among residents of a nursing facility, this can have a negative impact on all of the nursing home residents — especially when they are all suffering from poor hygiene and have their personal hygiene neglected by staff members.

Most nursing home residents need assistance with things like going to the bathroom, changing their clothing, changing their diapers, changing their bandages, brushing their teeth and related activities.

Poor hygiene occurs when the members of the nursing home staff fail to change the resident’s clothing or diapers. Residents of nursing homes also need regular bathing and need to have their wounds treated on a regular basis.

Uncleanliness at Nursing Home Facilities

It is important to have a clean environment in the nursing home facility because germs can lurk in unclean areas. Showers, baths and bathrooms that are not regularly sanitized are high-risk areas where germs can spread between nursing home residents. Also, diseases can stem from a lack of cleanliness.

If the staff fails to properly clean those areas where food is being prepared, served, or eaten, there can be the passage of germs through eating contaminated food. Tables, chairs and other surfaces that are touched often need to be cleaned regularly in order to keep germs from passing from the surfaces to the nursing home residents.

The Problem of Understaffing and Poor Nursing Facility Hygiene

There have been research studies identifying a link between poor hygiene at nursing home facilities and understaffing of the nursing home.

When the members of the nursing home staff are too rushed and don’t have a lot of help in cleaning patient care areas, they may feel that they are too overwhelmed or busy to regularly wash their hands. They may even forget to wash their hands after caring for a resident. This results in the spread of germs from the staff members to the nursing home residents.

Some studies indicate that those facilities with a low ratio of staff to residents have better hygiene in all areas of the facility. Poor hygiene in the nursing home may be directly related to insufficient numbers of nursing home staff to manage the problem of maintaining cleanliness throughout the facility. In such cases, the nursing facility may be held liable for those health problems that arise out of having poor hygiene in their facility.

The high employment turnover among nursing home aides may also be a contributing factor when it comes to improperly cleaning areas or inadequately helping nursing home residents with their personal hygiene.

Employees may be hired without the adequate training and experience in providing proper hygiene and this could cause them to make errors during their duties as a result of their lack of training. This can result in an increase in infections and other health issues among the nursing home residents.

Lawsuits Regarding Poor Hygiene in the Nursing Home

There have been lawsuits filed against nursing home facilities that are directly related to hygiene. Poor hygiene in a nursing facility is considered a form of neglect. The nursing home can be charged with neglect if they fail to keep all of their facilities and residents clean.

Lawsuits of this kind may also come from health complications that arise out of not providing proper hygiene to the nursing home residents or from not cleaning the facility properly. In addition, lawsuits related to negligence may revolve around the failure of a nursing facility to adequately provide enough staff to keep the facility clean.

If your loved one has suffered an injury or premature death because of poor hygiene in a nursing facility, you may need to file a lawsuit to protect your loved ones. This may result in damages awarded to the family in order to compensate for the illness or death of their loved one.

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Dr. Christine Traxler

Christine Traxler, MD is a retired family practice physician, graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Medicine in 1986, and freelance writer, having worked with patients in rural Minnesota for two decades. She has written several books on medical topics and currently resides in Minneapolis, MN, where she works as a freelance writer on medical topics.

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