You May Be Entitled to Seek Compensation For a Loved One Who Suffered Harm as a Result of Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
Many times, nursing home residents have extensive medication regimens. Many other residents suffer from mobility issues. Either of these circumstances, and especially when they are combined, can lead to compounded health problems for elderly individuals. It is important that nursing home staff are properly trained on the warning signs for complications that can develop in patients, including an impacted bowel.
What is an Impacted Bowel?
An impacted bowel, sometimes referred to as fecal impaction or fecal obstruction, occurs when a mass of dry, hard stool will not pass out of the colon or rectum. The stool becomes stuck and unable to pass out of the body.
What are the Symptoms of an Impacted Bowel?
Patients dealing with an impacted bowel may experience the following:
- Periodic abdominal cramping;
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Sudden, explosive diarrhea;
- Changes in bowel movements;
- Loss of appetite; and
- Swelling in the abdomen, among other gastrointestinal symptoms.
There are also several other symptoms that could indicate an impacted bowel including circulatory problems, confusion, and difficulty breathing. When an impacted bowel occurs, it may result in lack of blood flow to the intestines. This can cause subsequent tissue death which weakens the walls of the intestine and can lead to intestinal tears. Lack of treatment for an impacted bowel can lead to death.
Unfortunately, older adults are more prone to circumstances that can lead to an impacted bowel. One cause of an impacted bowel is lack of regular physical activity. As people age, they naturally have reduced mobility and some may have no ability to move unless they are assisted. Regular exercise is important to keep all nursing home residents fit and healthy, and when staff does not provide this type of exercise it is possible to develop an impacted bowel.
Additionally, several types of medications may also lead to an impacted bowel, specifically opioid pain medication that is prescribed for serious chronic pain or after a medical procedure. Opioid induced constipation (OIC) is very common. Dietary changes as well as untreated constipation may also lead to an impacted bowel. An impacted bowel may also occur as the result of abdominal surgery and digestive ailments like Crohn’s disease, or cancer.
When Might a Nursing Home be Liable for an Impacted Bowel or Related Complications?
When nursing home staff is not properly trained, they may miss the warning signs that an impacted bowel is sending. In such cases, a nursing home may be liable for compensation for any injury or death that occurs due to an impacted bowel. It is essential that nursing home staff are trained on the potential causes and symptoms of an impacted bowel and are aware of the medical history and needs of patients that may be more susceptible to experiencing fecal compaction.
Nursing Home Neglect And Abuse Lawyers Serving All of Southeast Massachusetts
If you believe that a loved one has suffered from an impacted bowel while in the care of a nursing home facility and that the facility may be liable for compensation, contact our nursing home neglect lawyers today to find out if the circumstances in which a nursing home may be liable for negligence related accidents, deaths and injuries.
We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to help you understand your rights and the value of your case. Our personal injury law firm takes cases involving elder abuse and neglect. We offer legal service to clients in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
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