Every year thousands of elderly Florida residents suffer dehydration and other heat-related injuries including heat stroke because the elderly are more susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke is a serious condition that can cause seizures, brain damage, and even death. Nursing homes have a duty to provide the proper care for their residents, which includes providing a safe environment, air-conditioned rooms for the warm summer months as well as heat for the cooler winter months, and because of the climate in Florida, nursing homes are usually equipped to handle the changing climate and the warm weather. However, when a nursing home is not prepared to manage residents in the heat, it can cause residents to suffer from heat stroke.
Unfortunately, events after Hurricane Irma demonstrated the importance of nursing homes being prepared to manage residents and protect them from heat stroke. For those who suffer a heat stroke in a nursing home environment, a nursing home attorney can investigate whether the nursing home should be held responsible for their actions.
A nursing home abuse attorney can help injured nursing home residents recover compensation to cover medical expenses, therapy, rehabilitative care, as well as wrongful death expenses. If you or a loved one has suffered a heat-related injury or heat stroke while under the care of a nursing home, contact a West Palm Beach nursing home heat stroke injury lawyer today.
What is a Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a condition that occurs when a person’s body temperature reaches a temperature of at least 104 degrees for a prolonged period of time.
The main cause of heat stroke is the weather, and considering that the average summer temperature in Florida is approximately 92 degrees, nursing homes need to ensure that their residents are properly cared for in the summer months.
Unfortunately, recent events have demonstrated the importance of nursing homes to provide for their residents and to be prepared in the event of natural disasters.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, several nursing home residents suffered from heat exhaustion and heat stroke because their nursing facility did not have adequate generators to provide air conditioning to its residents.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Nursing home staff are trained to identify and monitor nursing home residents for signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke to prevent residents from the negative effects of heat stroke.
A diligent nursing staff will be conscious of the most common symptoms of heat-related illnesses including:
- Elevated body temperatures
- Absence or marked decrease of sweat
- Flushed red skin
- Rapid pulse rate while resting
- Labored or difficult breathing
Nursing home staff as well as family members should be on the alert for the signs and symptoms of heat stroke, and should also pay attention to resident’s complaints of being hot.
Nursing home staff have a duty to protect nursing home residents from heat-related illnesses including heat stroke and should take affirmative steps to ensure that their residents are not only safe but comfortable.
Establishing Liability for Heat Stroke Injuries
Anytime a person in a nursing home develops a heat-related illness such as a heat stroke, it is important to consider the underlying reasons and causes. Some nursing home residents may acquire a heat-related illness simply because they are outside enjoying the weather on their own, however, nursing home staff may contribute or even cause heat stroke if they do not carefully monitor residents when the weather is warm.
Furthermore, Florida nursing home regulations require that nursing homes provide residents with comfortable and safe room temperature levels in accordance with federal law.
In addition, Florida regulations require that all “heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems must be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation to ensure they are operating within specified parameters to meet manufacturers’ specifications.”
While a majority of nursing homes are diligent in providing the best care for their residents, failure to abide by these state and federal regulations may serve as the basis for imposing liability on a nursing home.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Nursing Home Heat Stroke Injury Attorney
A West Palm Beach nursing home heat stroke injury lawyer will look into nursing home policies and practices to determine if the nursing home’s negligence contributed to, or caused a resident to experience a heat stroke.
Working closely with a lawyer is always advisable, and is the best way to protect your rights and your loved one’s rights.