A lot of people think of fecal impaction or bowel obstruction as just different names for constipation. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth as bowel obstruction can lead to death as well as tears in the intestinal wall causing severe complications. Individuals living in assisted care facilities or nursing homes are more likely to experience bowel obstruction due to a number of factors such as the side-effect of the medications they take, malnutrition, inability to drink sufficient fluids as well as a common symptom of some illnesses such as dementia. Fecal impaction causes fecal matter to stick in the lower colon and no amount of pushing in the toilet can make it come out. In such instances, stool softeners and enemas may be needed to help the nursing home resident pass stool. Bowel obstruction should not happen if nursing home staff follow all protocol to keep resident safe. Should it happen, negligence must be inferred, and a nursing home lawsuit should be the natural course of action.
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Some of the danger symptoms that signal bowel obstruction include:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Abdominal swelling
- Bad breath
- Tachycardia or fast heart rate
Treatment of Bowel Obstruction in the Elderly
It is important to understand that fecal impaction must be treated urgently. This is because it often leads to circulatory issues, which in turn restricts blood flow to your intestines. When this happens, tissue death soon follows which in turn weakens intestinal walls, leading to tears. If this is not treated, the nursing home resident may lose their life.
Diagnosing Fecal Impaction in Nursing Home Residents
A doctor will typically perform a CT scan, order X-rays , an ultrasonography as well as blood tests in order to diagnose fecal impaction. Your loved one may need emergency surgery to resolve bowel obstruction, and after surgery, they may be hooked up to IV antibiotics for many days or weeks after surgery to prevent any infection from taking hold.
Best Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys – Call Us Today!
Your loved one is owed something called duty of care by nursing home staff and management, which is a certain level of attention they must receive that is provided by other nursing homes caring for a similar group, and should they breach this duty of care by not monitoring at-risk patients, not feeding them soft foods as well as providing them with adequate fluids, and providing them with timely medical care should impaction happen, you may be able to file a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit. Please contact our nursing home lawsuit attorneys NOW at (773) 825-3547 to learn more about how we can help. The call is ABSOLUTELY FREE, and we look forward to helping you.