Many older Americans find themselves in the situation of caring for aging parents while approaching their own retirement. Assisted living facilities or nursing homes provide a way to ensure seniors receive the care and treatment they need.
However, one concern those with loved ones in such facilities may have is nursing home abuse or neglect. There have been numerous reported incidents of such occurrences, where workers physically or mentally mistreated or neglected their charges. While bruising, dehydration or malnutrition are more obvious signs that something is wrong, what about other changes in a loved one’s condition? For instance, does a urinary tract infection signal neglect?
UTIs possibly indicate neglect
UTIs are actually not uncommon in nursing homes. Residents may suffer from other conditions or weakened immune systems, making them more vulnerable to infections. However, some UTIs are preventable and caused by nurses’ negligence. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections occur because of using a catheter for too long. CAUTIs are preventable by switching to diapers instead. Nurses may avoid taking out catheters because of the effort needed to do so or to help their charges to the bathroom. Improper catheter handling may lead to the introduction of harmful bacteria, causing UTIs, as well.
Dehydration may also result in UTIs. This may occur because seniors do not have access to enough fluids or they fear that nurses will not help them go to the bathroom.
UTIs may worsen because of neglect
When treated properly in a timely manner, UTIs are not difficult to deal with. However, if nurses do not recognize the symptoms and start treatment, they may become severe.
Not all UTIs are from neglect, but some are, and neglect may cause them to worsen. If they occur because of neglect, there are options, including reporting nurses or filing a claim.