It is not uncommon for nursing home residents to have incontinence concerns that may necessitate wearing a diaper. Unfortunately, one of the most common complaints with nursing home care is complications arising from the inadequate frequency of diaper changes.
If you suspect your loved one’s care has been neglected by nursing home staff, you may have legal grounds to file a personal injury claim for malpractice. The experienced team at Silva Injury Law, Inc. can help you determine if you have a case and who is liable. Your loved one should not have to suffer because of substandard nursing home care. Contact us to schedule your free case consultation.
Who Commonly Wears Diapers in Nursing Homes?
Incontinence is often associated with aging adults, although age is not the only factor. Age may cause bladder muscles to atrophy, which decreases the body’s ability to store and control urine. This can also occur in the intestines, causing fecal incontinence. Here are several other reasons incontinence may occur, resulting in the need to wear diapers:
- Post-menopausal women may experience incontinence because of reduced estrogen levels, resulting in a weak bladder wall.
- Male incontinence can be a symptom of an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer.
- Any urinary tract blockage can cause incontinence, such as urinary stones or a tumor.
- Neurological disorders may impact specific nerves that decrease an individual’s ability to control urination or defecation.
People who wear diapers are not all bedridden. Some may be living very active lives. These people are more likely to be able to change themselves. Individuals with mobility issues may not be able to change their own diapers, and this is where it becomes the responsibility of the nursing staff.
How Often Should a Nursing Home Change a Patient’s Diaper?
Elderly nursing home residents with urinary incontinence concerns will generally need a diaper change six to eight times a day, though this may be more or less depending on how often they urinate. A patient who defecates in their diaper should be changed as soon as possible, and it is best to check the diaper every two hours.
What Happens When a Diaper is Not Changed Often Enough?
Residents with limited mobility and cognitive concerns may not realize they have soiled or wet diapers. If staff members fail to adhere to the standard frequency of diaper changes, this may result in health concerns, including:
- Bed sores,
- Infections, and
- Skin deterioration
These conditions can be painful and even life-threatening if not treated. Caring for conditions arising from patient neglect can be expensive and should not be the responsibility of the patient or their family. It is the responsibility of the nursing home to properly train their staff on how often diaper changes should happen.
How to Properly Change an Adult Diaper
Just switching out the diaper every few hours is not adequate. Nursing home staff should also be keeping track of the frequency and amount of urination and defecation to ensure that the resident is properly hydrated and is not showing signs of bleeding or other concerns.
It is not enough just to go off of smell. The staff should be trained to visually check the diaper as needed. Some diapers have a color indicator that appears when the diaper needs to be changed. Proper hygiene is also crucial, and the patient’s skin should be cleaned well each time the diaper is switched. This can help prevent or minimize skin issues.
When Is Legal Action Appropriate?
Failing to change a diaper is not enough on its own to support legal action for improper nursing home care. There also has to be some sort of harm that results. This means the neglect must result in some injury or worsened physical condition. If your loved one ends up with costly medical bills because of this neglect, you may be able to file a claim for personal injury in the form of nursing home abuse or medical malpractice.
The experienced legal team at Silva Injury Law, Inc. will conduct an investigation into the claim and take into consideration other aspects of patient care that may be substandard. You do have a path to seek justice and compensation. We will take the time to understand your concerns and come up with the best path forward.
FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP
At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.