Any Florida family with a loved one in an assisted care facility may want to sit up and listen to the news out of Canada. In the city of Edmonton, an elderly man has died in a nursing home after drinking industrial dishwashing liquid. The man, Floyd Taylor, suffered burn injuries after drinking the chemical and died as a result of the incident. Taylor lived in t the Kipnes Centre for Veterans and was seen by witnesses spitting liquid into a sink on Sept. 12. It is now believed that liquid was the industrial dishwashing liquid that eventually killed him.
Taylor had Alzheimer’s disease. When staff discovered that he had burns, he was taken to a hospital, where it was discovered that he had sustained serious burns to his mouth, vocal cords and esophagus. Taylor died four days later in hospital. The Taylor family thinks that the man drank the fluid thinking it was juice and believe the incident was preventable. It is not known whether a wrongful death suit will result from the accident.
Alberta Health Services is investigating the death and trying to determine whether the dishwashing liquid was left out inappropriately or was left in a cupboard that was unlocked.
The incident reveals that even good car facilities may inadvertently engage in some less than safe practices leading to nursing home neglect. Families can prevent similar accidents by:
1) Asking care facilities about the storage of dangerous chemicals, including cleaning products, over the counter medicines and other hazardous products. These products should be carefully stored in locked closets or cupboards and should be returned to these locked areas immediately after uses.
2) Ensuring that staff are adequately trained in safety procedures in the care facility. Asking what training staff have relieved is not excessive – it’s a good way to ensure that adequate care is taken. Mistakes can easily happen when staff are not clearly instructed as to what to do.
3) Knowing how staff deal with medication. Patients and residents should be given the right dosage of their medications at the right time each day. They should not be given bottles of pills or allowed access to larger doses of medication than they can take at one time. Medication doses and names should be checked before each administering to ensure that the right patient is getting the right medication in the right dose.
4) Raising any concerns promptly. One of the best ways to prevent tragedies is with frequent visits to the assisted living facility. Take tours and visit all common areas as well as your loved one’s room. If you notice any dangerous conditions – water on the floor that could lead to a slip and fall accident or an open container or paint – report the problem and follow up to ensure that it has been resolved. If you notice that dangers are not dealt with, contact authorities in your area or an attorney to protect your loved one.