Any place where people live, pests and microbes that attack the human body tend to congregate. It is well known that medical facilities are major disease vectors, meaning they facilitate the passage of illness, disease or pests from one person to another.
However, just because such infestations and infections are common in medical and group home settings does not mean that they are acceptable, especially if they go unaddressed or untreated. When you have a loved one living in a nursing home or a similar care facility, you expect that the facility will maintain certain levels of cleanliness to protect its residents.
Failing to meet minimum standards for cleanliness can endanger the residence in a facility. As such, it is important to include checking for infestations in your vetting process when selecting a nursing home.
Lice are a common and easy-to-treat pest
It is impossible for a facility open to the public to prevent incursion by any kind of hostile bacteria, virus or pest. Anyone who visits could bring something unwanted in with them. However, facilities can keep issues related to pests in check by monitoring conditions in both the living spaces and the residents routinely for signs of infestation.
Head lice are a common warning sign of a lack of appropriate cleanliness in a facility. While anyone can bring lice in, properly washed bed clothes and residents are less likely to develop a major, lasting infestation. If you receive notification from the facility or discover lice while visiting, make a record of that issue and report it to staff. They should work toward the immediate resolution of this problem.
Scabies are also common in nursing homes
Be on the watch for scabies as well. Scabies, which are tiny burrowing bugs, are often a little harder to notice, as the actual pests are too small to see. However, they will cause sores on human skin which can be quickly diagnosed if properly attended to.
On their own, in small amounts, both scabies and lice are more nuisance than medical threat. However, left unchecked among a population of medically vulnerable older adults, scabies and head lice could cause serious injuries, as well as potentially deadly secondary infections.
Older adults deserve clean and safe facilities
Nursing homes have an obligation to their residents and to the people who entrust their loved ones to the facility for care. Maintaining clean facilities and protecting residents from unnecessary illness or injury is part of the task of providing residential care. Lack of cleanliness is a warning sign of potential neglect, which is harder to spot than overt abuse, but still dangerous.
When a facility fails to keep your loved ones safe and clean, you may need to take steps to protect your loved one from further abuse. Additionally, you may need to take legal action against the facility to ensure that they do not endanger anyone else in the same way in the future.