Warm weather is a wonderful thing for just about everyone, but for the elderly who are in care or in nursing homes, hot weather can mean a whole new area of risks. While most nursing homes are contentious about providing quality care year-round, not all facilities take extra precautions during the summer. Unfortunately, some instances of negligence and abuse occur in nursing homes at this time of year because some facilities are simply not prepared for the warm weather. If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home or other care facility, now is a good time to check that the facility is taking care of your loved one. Some questions to ask include:
1) Does the nursing home provide air conditions, fans, or other devices for cooling the air? Extremely warm temperatures are uncomfortable and for the elderly they can be dangerous. Very high temperatures can lead to weakness, trouble breathing, and other health problems. High temperatures can also be dehydrating and can lead to slip and fall accidents or trip and fall accidents if patients get weak. Make sure that the facility is kept at a reasonable temperature at all times.
2) Does the nursing home provide plenty of fresh water and drinks that are in easy-to-reach places? During the warm weather, proper hydration is essential as the body loses more water. Plenty of fresh water and other drinks should be available, but should be available in such a way that each patient can easily reach a drink at any time. For example, bed-ridden patients should be provided with plenty of fresh water and drinks right by their bedside.
3) Does the nursing home or facility provide safe outdoor activities in the summer? Residents should be encouraged to enjoy the grounds and even to go swimming, where possible. The summer is a great time to enjoy some activity. However, it is important that all residents are carefully supervised at all times to prevent injuries and accidents. If the facility has a swimming pool, for example, that pool should be carefully locked up when not in used and should be guarded by a qualified lifeguard when in use to prevent pool accidents. Similarly, during outdoor activities, care should be taken to ensure that all residents wear sunscreen and hats and are not left in the sun for extended periods of time.
4) Does the nursing home or facility pay close attention to food storage in the summer? In the summer, food spoils more easily, so care must be taken to remove food from the table before it spoils. Care must be taken with condiments and other items typically left on tables, especially.
5) Does the nursing home or facility keep track of resident’s diet and appetite in the summer? During warm months, appetites may wane and it is important that facilities keep track of residents to ensure that residents do not lose too much weight or get too week. During the summer, seasonal fruits and vegetables can be added and should be added to most resident’s diet as fresh produce is cooling, nutrient-rich and water-rich for the summer months. It can help keep residents hydrated and healthy.