At the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi, we are excellently prepared to litigate on any nursing home neglect matter, including incontinence issues. We believe that injury and loss of dignity due to a nursing facility’s failure to properly care for any incontinent patients is unacceptable. We have had much success in litigating such issues and are always driven to pursue our clients’ cases until a satisfactory and just outcome has been acquired.
Incontinence is a prevalent, difficult, and expensive health problem in skilled nursing facilities. At least half of all nursing home residents suffer urinary or bowel incontinence. Incontinence care is difficult and time-consuming because most incontinent residents have cognitive and physical disabilities and have to rely on assistance from nursing staff (primarily certified nurse assistants, CNAs) for their toilet and hygiene care.
However, incontinence is a symptom, and not a disease, that may be improved with careful diagnostic assessment and treatment for certain nursing home residents. In order to effectively treat incontinence, the incontinence symptoms should first be carefully assessed to determine the type and underlying causes of the incontinence.
Incontinence is the loss of bladder or bowel control that can be caused by a broad range of conditions and disorders, including injuries to the pelvic region, neurological diseases (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and spinal cord lesions), bladder stones or tumor, bladder infection, and the bladder’s decreased ability to contract with the aging process. Especially for frail and older adults, there are a number of changes in the body or deterioration of the body’s network of nerves that can have an effect on bladder function.
Types of Incontinence
Symptoms of overactive bladder include urinary frequency that involves urinating more than eight times per day or more than once at night and/or a strong and sudden desire to urinate. Many older people also suffer “nocturia” which refers to awakening more than once at night to urinate.
Also note that urinary tract infections (UTIs) can produce the same symptoms as an overactive bladder. Older people are susceptible to UTIs because of chronic diseases, medication, and increased residual urine as a result of degenerative changes associated with aging. If UTIs are severe, hospitalization may be required.
Urgency Urinary Incontinence (UUI)
With urgency urinary incontinence, a person suddenly and urgently needs to urinate but is unable to get to the toilet before losing control of his or her bladder. This sudden bladder contraction occurs when nerve passages along the pathway from the bladder to the brain are damaged. Those who suffer stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis may suffer from this type of incontinence.
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
Stress urinary incontinence causes the bladder to leak during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or any body movement which puts pressure on the bladder.
With fecal incontinence, a person cannot control the passage or loss of gas, liquid and/or solid stool. Such symptom has varying degrees from partial inability to complete inability to control the entire bowel movement.
Once a thorough medical evaluation of the patient has been conducted, to determine the cause of the incontinence, appropriate management and treatment protocols should be implemented to reduce or cure the symptoms. (For more information on treatment of incontinence, please go to Incontinence Treatment Methods.) Preserving hygiene and dignity in the process are also important for the nursing home residents who suffer from incontinence. An often deplorable condition plaguing many nursing home residents is the lack of sufficient staff to immediately change and clean an incontinent resident. If incontinence is not properly cared for, frail nursing home residents can subsequently suffer painful complications and injuries.
If you believe your loved one has suffered from complications related to incontinence, such as pressure ulcers resulting from inadequate incontinence care by a skilled nursing facility, contact us immediately. Our team of nursing home negligence and neglect experts will review your case in a free consultation to see how we can best help and serve you and your loved one.