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Preparing for Winter – Nursing Home Best Practices

You might not think about it, but even in this modern age, a lot of what we do and how we live as people involves the passing of the seasons – various kinds of professionals in their roles as community advocates, public health and safety officials and others see seasonal changes having an effect on a population.

That holds true in nursing home administration, and in the role of nursing home abuse attorneys – we see changes in how cases work throughout a year. For example, as winter approaches, nursing homes face specific liabilities related to nursing home abuse and neglect in FL and utilize best practices to protect residents.

Keeping Residents Safe and Warm

One of the first things you’d probably think of in preparing nursing homes for the winter is having appropriate heating and cooling infrastructure. But you’d be surprised how often administrative negligence leads to unsafe situations for seniors – where a building is not adequately heated, or where outdoor activities aren’t properly supervised.

An older adult’s immune system and general constitution are uniquely vulnerable to the pressures of winter weather, including the possibility of frostbite or hypothermia. It’s important that nursing home officials and staff work to make sure that residents aren’t subjected to unhealthy temperatures during the day or night.

Winter Viruses

Again, seniors are among the most vulnerable to seasonal flu strains and other aggressive viruses. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 70-85% of all recorded flu deaths involve persons over the age of 65.

Handwashing is a critical best practice in preventing the spread of virus throughout a nursing home. Also, nursing home staff and administrators should pay attention to general sanitation, food service management and other key elements of preventing the spread of germs and viruses during the winter.

Close Quarters

As summer moves into winter, residents, staff, and others operate in a different environment. Winter means some heightening of physical isolation from the outdoors, and that means that residents may be spending more time alone with staff members. That’s a pivotal time to watch for the onset of abusive practices or relationships within the nursing home.

Fewer Family Visits

During the summer, many nursing home residents are welcoming family members into the facility. They may spend outside time with family members or even go on excursions by “checking out” of the facility into the care of a family member.

During the winter, these activities tend to subside. That’s another reason nursing home administrators should be on the lookout for warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect during the winter months.

For any questions related to the health and welfare of your beloved family member in a Florida nursing home environment, call the Law Office of Steve Watrel. We bring a unique team approach and time-tested case philosophy to nursing home abuse law in Jacksonville, Florida. Take a look at our website to learn more about how we support Jacksonville families and use specific legal techniques to help resolve nursing home abuse and neglect cases in Florida courts.