Massachusetts nursing homes and long-term care facilities must follow a standard of care for patient hygiene. Nursing homes have a responsibility to regularly check, bathe and turn patients to protect against bed sores.
Bed sores – or pressure ulcers – occur when a patient has been lying in the same position for an extended period of time. While there is simple prevention, bed sore cases at nursing homes continue to rise, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Bed sores are painful and serious because without the right care, they can lead to infection and contribute to early death. Repeat cases are a major cause of concern. As a guardian or family member, you may want to consider outside medical care and transferring to another facility. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston personal injury lawyers
are experienced at helping families address nursing home negligence.
For a free legal consultation, contact our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676.
Massachusetts Nursing Home Regulations on Patient Hygiene
Nursing homes are closely regulated. The Massachusetts regulation for nursing homes is 105 CMR 150.000. This document states nursing homes must provide sufficient housekeeping and maintenance personnel to keep the interior of the facility safe and clean.
One notable point is that nursing home care staff should not be responsible for housekeeping duties as this interferes with patient care. This should minimize the risk of spreading infection.
When hiring, management must carefully screen potential employees and only hire those who can perform the essential duties of the job. Employees must be trained to help patients with personal care and hygiene, even difficult steps such as helping them walk to the bathroom or changing their clothes.
How Nursing Home Patients Develop Bed Sores
Patients with limited mobility are more likely to develop bed sores. The likelihood increases when they are not regularly turned, bathed or had their clothing changed. They are also at risk when bed sheets are not cleaned regularly.
Nursing homes must follow procedures for housekeeping duties. Among the most basic, soiled linens should not be sorted, laundered or rinsed near patients or in public areas. It should not be handled or stored near clean linens. Nursing home staff should be trained to observe when laundry is piling up in a patient’s room or if the patient is not receiving clean towels and bed sheets. Patients should not re-use bed sheets without cleaning.
Bed sores are caused by prolonged pressure against bedding. The pressure lowers blood flow, damaging skin and tissues. Symptoms such as skin rash or wounds can develop suddenly or within days. A medical doctor should be called to evaluate the bed sores and provide a treatment plan so the condition does worsen.
Families who suspect bed sores can ask the nursing home to turn the patient over while you are visiting. Take a photograph and ask your loved one about their pain. Then advise the nursing home to call a doctor.
Free Legal Consultation – Boston Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
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