The Serious Risks of Poor Oral Healthcare in Nursing Home Residents

Choosing to put your loved one in a nursing home is far from easy. Ensuring your loved one receives proper care while in that nursing home is even harder. Too many nursing home residents face neglect and abuse at the hands of their caretakers. We pay nursing home staff to keep seniors healthy and safe, which makes neglect an unconscionable breach of trust.

Thankfully, you can help protect your loved ones by keeping an eye out for signs of neglect. One of the most common neglect indicators few individuals think about is oral healthcare. Here’s what you need to know about senior dental health, and what it could mean for your family.

The Challenge With Oral Care

One of the biggest problems with adequate healthcare in nursing homes is dental care. This is usually attributed to time constraints. Maintaining daily oral hygiene routines for residents is often difficult. Clinical situations may also arise with patients who have health conditions like diabetes.

This kind of neglect may also result from a simple lack of awareness on the part of the nursing home staff. Often workers fail to realize that oral health problems have an impact on mental and physical health. A senior’s dental health can also impact their self-esteem and quality of life.

In a 2006 study from the Journal of American Geriatric Society, researchers found that 80 percent of nursing home residents in upstate New York did not receive daily oral care. This study raises concerns that other elder care facilities across the country could have the same problem. These researchers also pointed out that 84 percent of nursing home residents have difficulty brushing their teeth due to mental or physical limitations. However, while the tasks of brushing teeth twice each day per resident can seem daunting, the effort is worth the results.

Potential Consequences

With poor oral care comes additional health problems. For example, neglect in brushing teeth can contribute to pneumonia — a leading killer of men and women living in nursing homes. It can also make it difficult to eat or sleep, causing insomnia, severe headaches, and terrible pain. This means overlooking simple hygiene tasks such as brushing your teeth can lead to drastic problems.

Other Signs of Neglect

When a nursing facility fails to provide residents with the proper care families are caught in an infuriating position. Such neglect, whether intentional or not intentional, hurts the elderly and those who love them. Keeping watch for the signs of neglect can help prevent this type of suffering.

Common symptoms of neglect include:

  • Unexplained injuries,
  • Dehydration,
  • Frequent falls,
  • Head injuries,
  • Infections,
  • Malnutrition,
  • Bedsores,
  • Rapid weight loss or weight gain,
  • Unexplained injuries,
  • Unsanitary conditions, or
  • Heavy medication.

If you notice any of these signs when visiting your loved one, then you should act. Speak to a manager at the nursing home and explain your concerns. If your concerns are not addressed, consider filing an official complaint.

Our Phoenix Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Are Ready to Help

Negligent nursing home employees can injure residents both mentally and physically. Remove your loved one from the nursing home immediately if you suspect such abuse. You should also contact an experienced Phoenix nursing home abuse attorney to file a lawsuit against those responsible.

Oral healthcare is more important than you might realize. Without regular oral care, the elderly could suffer serious health issues. The experienced Phoenix nursing home abuse attorneys at Miller Kory Rowe LLP help families hold negligent parties responsible. For assistance and representation call (602) 461-8640 or fill out our online contact form.

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