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Boston Nursing Home Negligence?: “Hand Hygiene” is A Health Concern at Some Facilities

Our Boston nursing home negligence lawyers represent families whose loved ones have sustained injury, illness, or died because of Massachusetts nursing home abuse and neglect. While overt misconduct, such as physical abuse, is often the cause of resident harm, sometimes, a patient can get hurt or sick because a nursing home worker was careless or failed/forgot to follow general care protocol.

In a blog post published this week in the New York Times, the newspaper article focuses on a study examining “hand hygiene,” at nursing homes that was published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology. Although it may seem that washing your hands when taking care of nursing home residents would be a given-this apparently isn’t always what happens.

Per inspectors, the percentage of nursing homes that have received citations for hand hygiene deficiencies has grown. While between 2000 and 2002 this type of deficiency was only found in less than 7.4% of nursing homes, by 2009, hand hygiene issues were found in nearly 12% of nursing homes.

Nurses should wash their hands before and after any type of interaction requiring direct contact, including when:

• Changing patients’ clothes or sheets • Helping them use the toilet • Bathing residents • Helping them brush their teeth • Providing feeding assistance • Changing a wound dressing • Helping a resident shower • Before and after touching a patient while providing nursing care
Infection is the leading cause of sickness and death in health care environments, and these days it is not unusual for serious infections, such as Clostridium difficile and MRSA, to inhabit nursing homes. Because of their health issues, frail condition, or advanced age, elderly patients are already at risk of infection even when proper sanitation and cleanliness is practiced. Neglecting to wash one’s hands when taking care of/treating them, therefore, only ups that risk.

Common causes for why nursing home staff might not wash their hands:
• Insufficient number of staff • Overworked nurses
• Lower Medicaid reimbursement rates
If you believe that negligence by nursing staff caused your loved one to sustain illness injury, or death, contact Altman & Altman, LLP today and ask to speaking with an experienced Boston nursing home abuse and neglect attorney.

The Dirty Little Secret of Nursing Homes, The New York Times, August 27, 2012

Hand Hygiene Deficiency Citations in Nursing Homes, Journal of Applied Gerontology

More Blog Posts:

Hot Weather Can Place the Health of Boston Nursing Home Patients at Risk, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 21, 2012

Williamstown, Massachusetts Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit Seeks Berkshire County Wrongful Death Compensation Following Patient’s Fall Accident, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2012
Boston Globe Reports that Many US Nursing Homes are Wrongly Prescribing Antipsychotic Medications to Residents, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 29, 2012