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Nursing Home Neglect During the Summer Months Can Lead to Heat Injuries

The weather is getting warmer, which means new risks for residents of nursing homes.  In one tragic incident, for example, a man who was in a wheelchair was left outside in the sun for so long he died.  Fox News reported on the circumstances which resulted in the death of the elderly nursing home resident.sun-sunshine-1552642

Nursing homes are required to provide a basic minimum level of care for all senior residents, which includes ensuring their health needs are met and also ensuring they are not put into high risk situations. If nursing home staff are negligent in protecting residents from the summer heat and are negligent in providing proper supervision and hydration, the nursing home could be held accountable for the neglect of its staff members.

Nursing Home Neglect Can Cause Heat-Related Injuries

A 65-year-old man who was in a wheelchair and who was immobile was left outside for hours recently, on a day when the temperature rose into the 90s. Because of psychiatric problems and mobility issues, the man was unable to remove himself from the situation. He unfortunately experienced symptoms of dehydration and suffered second degree burns as a result of being left outside. He later died of heart failure, and both an autopsy and an investigation were underway.

The man's guardian was not notified of his death by the nursing home, but was instead informed of the fatality by the hospital. The nursing home where the man was living has had a history of violations and has been on the state's watch list since 2013 for failure to meet minimum standards when undergoing an inspection. The guardian of the man who died, who has 10 other patients at the same facility, is now looking for new homes to resettle the seniors.

Unfortunately, as the summer weather approaches, more incidents like this one may occur. Seniors are often not able to get around on their own and may be unable to get out of the heat if their caregivers accidentally leave them outside.  Heat stroke, dehydration and burns are just a few of the many serious injuries that could result if nursing home staff members are neglectful and fail to protect patients from summer heat.

Seniors may be especially vulnerable to heat stroke, as reported by Healthday.  One study of 83 patients admitted to the hospital for heat stroke found the victims who died were more likely to have come from a nursing home environment and were more likely to have used drugs which lower their blood pressure. The findings prompted researchers to warn: "Heatstroke may be most lethal for people who live in nursing homes."

Nursing home staff must be aware of the risks and must ensure they are not leaving seniors in hot outdoor or indoor areas as temperatures climb throughout Alabama.

Victims of Birmingham, AL nursing home abuse should consult with a lawyer at Shuttlesworth Lasseter, LLC. Call 866-583-1885 today. Serving Birmingham, suburbs of Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills and surrounding locations. 

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