There have been a lot of stories lately about how leaving a young child in a car in hot weather can prove fatal. At our Boston nursing home negligence lawyers, we’d like to remind our readers that high temperatures can also prove high risk for another demographic: the very elderly.
Many older seniors are just not as able to adjust their body temperature as well as younger people. Use of prescription medications may also modify the way the body would normally respond to heat.
Persons suffering from diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, obesity, and respiratory conditions are also more susceptible to the serious effects of heat. This is why it is very important that Massachusetts long-term care facilities take the necessary precautions to protect their residents from hot weather.
Nursing home residents should be kept as cool as possible in high temperatures. This could mean keeping patients inside-especially if the resident is suffering from dementia and has a propensity to wander off and get lost. Air conditioning and fans are also important. Nurses on duty should continue to monitor the residents for any sign of heat stress. Making sure a patient stays dehydrated is also essential. In the event that there is a power failure, nursing homes should have a contingency plan in place.
Examples of Common Heat-Related Illnesses:
Heat Stroke: This happens when the body can’t control its own temperature. A person may lose the ability to sweat or cool down. This can cause the body temperature to rise high enough that permanent disability or death may occur.
Heat Stress: A milder type of heat-related illness. However, older people are more at risk of not only suffering from this condition but also having its side effects result in serious health issues. Heat stress may even worsen pre-existing medical conditions.
Heat Exhaustion: Excessive sweating could result in the dramatic loss of bodily fluids. This may lead to loss of consciousness, dizziness, headaches, and vomiting.
Massachusetts nursing homes have a duty to protect their residents from the hot weather. If you suspect that Boston nursing home negligence caused you or a loved one to suffer from a heat-related illness that resulted in serious health issues, contact Altman & Altman, LLP today.
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