Not having enough staff on hand is a common issue at many nursing homes. One of the ways for the companies that run these facilities to maximize their profits is to keep their costs as low as possible, and staffing is a major expense. Fewer staff members on duty at any given time will mean less operating expense for the company, but it will also mean less help for the residents.
When staff members are already spread thin, they may have to make difficult decisions about what they address during their shifts. If they barely have time to manage necessary patient care, cleaning and facility maintenance may go unaddressed. Negligent maintenance and cleaning might mean that pests like lice, bed bugs or scabies run rampant at the nursing home.
Pests can be a real danger to vulnerable adults
Bed bugs, lice and scabies can irritate anyone. Infestations can cause itching, skin irritation or even allergic reactions. If the infestation goes beyond the most basic level and becomes severe, people could experience secondary infections that endanger their health.
There have even been cases of people in nursing homes eventually dying because of extreme, unaddressed infestations. While the media sometimes exaggerate the details of these tragedies, the truth is that pest infestations are both preventable and treatable. If a nursing home monitors its residents and maintains clean spaces, it can prevent the spread of an infestation from one resident to others and minimize the long-term impact of an infestation on the health of their residents.
What should you do when you notice signs of dangerous pests?
You do not want to ignore warning signs of a potentially dangerous pest infestation. If your loved one clearly has lice, bites from bed bugs or signs of scabies, you should document it yourself and report it to the staff at the nursing home.
The staff should take immediate action to resolve the infestation and treat any wounds has your loved one has developed. Sometimes, older adults may need extensive medical care because of an infestation. Other times, you may need to move them to a different facility because the standard of care is simply unacceptable where they currently live.
Recognizing the warning signs of nursing home neglect will make you a better advocate for your aging family member.