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Hot Weather Can Place the Health of Boston Nursing Home Patients at Risk

When the temperature is too hot, Massachusetts nursing home patients-especially the elderly can be placed at risk of developing serious heat-related illnesses and complications unless the proper precautions are executed. If you believe that Boston nursing home neglect caused your family member to become ill because of heat stress, heat stroke, or any other reason, please contact Altman & Altman LLP today to request your free case evaluation.

Heat Stress and Heat Stroke
When in very hot weather, the body will up its blood flow and perspire to regulate its own temperature. However, because many elderly persons’ bodies don’t adapt as well to the heat-many may be taking medications that make it harder for their bodies to self-regulate-this can cause heat stress, which can bring about other health complications. (Also, chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, a heart condition, or circulatory issues can make it hard for the body to emit the normal adjustment response to high temperatures.) Heat stress may even turn to heat stroke. When this happens, the body’s temperature can hit 106 degrees or higher in 10 to 15 minutes, potentially causing permanent disability or death if medical care isn’t provided right away.

It is the responsibility of Boston nursing homes to make sure that patients are allowed to reside in an environment where temperature levels are a comfortable and safe 71 to 81 degrees. Proper ventilation is also a must. Nurses and nurses aides should also be monitoring patients for signs of heat stress, such as dizziness, accelerate heart rate, nausea, deeper urine color, bad headaches, chest pain, no perspiration, dry skin, vomiting, changes in mental state, respiratory problems, infrequent urination, and weakness.

Because some nursing home patients are suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or some other sort of mental illness, they may not be aware of the effect that hot weather is having on them. Care facility staff to make sure that these residents don’t go outside for too long and are not doing anything to increase the chances that they will develop a heat related illness.

Heat Stress in the Elderly, CDC
Heatstroke, Mayo Clinic
Nursing homes, MassResources.org

More Blog Posts:

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Boston Globe Reports that Many US Nursing Homes are Wrongly Prescribing Antipsychotic Medications to Residents, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 29, 2012

Fighting Massachusetts Nursing Home Negligence: Patient Advocates Want the State to Only Allow Properly Trained Facilities to Provide Care for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 11, 2012