Burns in Nursing Homes
Why do we put our loved ones in nursing homes? It is because they need help with daily activities that we cannot safely provide at home. This means they need help with eating, bathing, therapy and safety. Unfortunately, all four of these activities can result in nursing home resident burns if the staff neglects the needs of the patient.
Nursing Home Burns from Hot Food and Coffee
Nursing homes prepare thousands of hot meals each year. Coffee is served daily inside the facility. Nursing home staff must assist many of their residents with eating and drinking. This means they must make sure that hot foods, coffee and teas must be checked before serving to the residents. It is inexcusable for staff to spill hot food or drinks on a resident. Similarly, if the resident is not able to feed themselves, scalding hot coffee and foods should not be left alone with the residents. Failure to follow these common-sense safety precautions can result in nursing home burns from coffee and hot foods.
Nursing Home Burns from Shower or Bath Water that is Too Hot
Like eating and drinking, most nursing home patients require assistance with bathing. A large component of staff assistance with bathing is making sure the shower or bath water is not too hot. If staff neglects to check the temperature of the water, the nursing home resident may develop second or third degree burns from scalding bath or shower water.
Physical Therapy Burns in Long Term Care Facilities
Physical therapy is a requirement in most rehabilitation residencies. Physical therapists often use heating pads with electrical heating technologies in order to work muscles back to pre-injury levels. Heating pad temperatures must be checked before applying to the fragile skin of elderly nursing home residents, in order to avoid physical therapy heating pad burns.
Burns from Unsupervised Smoking and Fires
A nursing home or ALF has a requirement to supervise its residents’ safety. This means the facility must have a general idea of the resident’s whereabouts, and making sure that they are safe. Fire safety is also a legal requirement in every facility in all 50 states. According to the U.S. Accountability Office, the estimate of nursing homes that had structural fires between 1994 and 1999 stands at 2,300. In 2003, there were 31 fire related deaths in Nashville, Tennessee and Hartford, Connecticut in two different nursing home fires. If a resident is burned in a facility fire, a thorough investigation should be conducted to determine if the facility followed required fire safety guidelines. Similarly, if a patient in a nursing home burned themselves while smoking, the family should look into the incident
Burns from Sunburns, Heat Exposure and Heatstroke
Nursing homes have a legal duty to protect residents from heatstroke and sunburn. Our lawyers have handled wrongful death claims involving nursing home residents left in the sun too long, resulting in dehydration. Additionally, we have handled cases where a nursing home’s air conditioning goes out and residents die due to heatstroke. What may result in a small sunburn to you and I can be fatal to vulnerable residents. If your loved one died in a nursing home due to sun exposure or heatstroke, seek legal help immediately.
Burn Injuries in Nursing Homes: A Reoccurring Problem
Nursing home burns cause irreparable injury to senior citizens. Allowing residents of nursing homes to suffer preventable burn injuries constitutes nursing home neglect. Sadly, we continue to see many elderly residents develop burn injuries while residents. The only way to stop this is to report the burn injuries. If you have questions about a burn injury that occurred inside a facility, we are happy to speak with you in a free consultation. Contact us today.