This week we are featuring ForMyParent.com, a website dedicated to educating and informing loved ones about elder care and nursing home safety. ForMyParent.com has written the following post about wheelchair safety in nursing homes. Be sure to check out their website to learn more about nursing home legal services as well as view a map of nursing homes by state. This unique feature gives statistics on best health scores, highest number of complaints, and other helpful information.
Many elders rely on wheelchairs when they are no longer able to walk on their own due to weakness, lack of coordination, or a medical condition. Enter any nursing home and you will likely see many residents sitting in wheelchairs.
According to an article published in Annals of Long Term Care, over 80% of nursing home residents spend time sitting in a wheelchair on a daily basis. A majority of these elderly residents are overlooked for therapeutic treatment, such as physical or occupational therapy, because they are viewed as too disabled or too difficult to rehabilitate. While some elders may have little to no ability to walk independently, it’s crucial for elders to receive some sort of movement therapy whenever possible. To simply leave an elder in a wheelchair is neglectful and can be considered a form of nursing home abuse, particularly when the elder’s health declines because of prolonged wheelchair use.
Some nursing home facilities may rely heavily on wheelchair use for a variety of reasons from convenience and easy transport (particularly when understaffed) to safety. While the intention of using a wheelchair for safety might be good, it may result in adverse outcomes subject to nursing home abuse allegations. Too much time in a wheelchair can result in pressure ulcers, skin tears, edema, and bruising. Additionally, residents who spend most of their day in a wheelchair may become depressed, feel isolated, or end up falling while attempting to get out of the chair. Wheelchairs can be helpful in the nursing home setting, but they must benefit the user rather than decrease his or her quality of life.
The type of wheelchair that most nursing home residents sit in for prolonged periods of time are the sling-seat models with little to no ability for adjustments. These types of wheelchairs were designed for brief transport and are often seen in hospital settings to move patients in and out of a hospital. While customized, motorized wheelchairs or scooters may be more expensive, they are generally a better option as they offer support and some independence.
Whether you are looking at nursing homes or have an elderly loved living in one, it’s important to know if the facility adheres to wheelchair safety and provides a safe environment overall. One of the best ways to check on nursing home safety is to do research and familiarize yourself with the facility. For more in-depth safety information about a particular nursing home on your list, visit this link on elder safety. A safe and responsible nursing home would use wheelchairs only when needed and do the following:
●Keep wheels locked
●Position the wheelchair on level ground, away from congestion, but not completely isolated
●Use proper seating for comfort, safety, and to use less restraints
Help keep your elderly loved one safe and speak up if you question the overuse of wheelchairs in the nursing home facility.
The above article was written by ForMyParent.com. For more information and to contact them, click here.