Elderly Lives Matter®

Lice Could Be a Warning Sign of Nursing Home Neglect

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2020 | Bedsores, Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

For most people, the idea of head lice infestations probably makes them think of school. Many people who catch head lice do so in communal spaces like schools where they are in close proximity to others for a long portion of the day.

However, lice and similar insect infestations can also spread in nursing home facilities if staff members aren’t careful about cleaning spaces and helping residents with their personal hygiene. In fact, the presence of lice could be an early warning that staff members aren’t doing enough to ensure the safety and comfort of your loved one, which might constitute neglect if it becomes serious enough.

Lice infestations are relatively easy to treat

While lice can quickly spread from person to person or via unclean clothing or furniture, it is also relatively simple to treat lice infestations.  Proper hygiene habits and careful grooming, especially combing the hair with a nit comb, will generally be enough to get a lice infestation under control.

Deep cleaning a room and laundering clothing and bedsheets are also often part of addressing a lice infestation. If staff members have not already cleaned the space and helped your loved one remove the lice in their hair, they may not provide adequate care in other areas either.

If the staff doesn’t address lice, they may not stop bedsores or notice infections

While lice are unsightly and unpleasant, in most cases, they pose little if any risk to the health of the person with them. They can cause issues for people with bleeding conditions or those with allergies or who are very prone to infection. Still, their presence is a troubling sign that could mean that staff won’t notice that your loved one is ill or that they won’t take adequate care to prevent bedsores from forming and to treat them to stop them from progressing if they do develop.

Taking steps to documents the lice infestation and quickly address it and the standard of care of your loved one has received is of the utmost importance for protecting the vulnerable older adult that you love.

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