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Monitoring Toileting Is an Important Elder Care Responsibility

Garcia & Artigliere

Elder abuse occurs in many forms and one of them is failing to properly care for the patients under one’s charge. Part of proper care when dealing with elderly patients involves monitoring bowel and bladder activities daily.

Some medications and health conditions can lead to instances where patients are unable to void bladders or evacuate bowels efficiently. Failure to void could be a symptom of urinary retention or other conditions that may require medical assistance or intervention. Failure to evacuate bowels for an extended period of days could lead to fecal impaction and a condition known as sepsis, which can cause death.

What Does It Mean When Bowels Are Impacted?

Impacted bowels occur when feces becomes trapped in the lower part of the large intestine. This creates an obstruction that waste cannot pass through. The stool collects and then hardens in the bowels. Next, the body begins creating mucus and other fluids that leak through the barrier, causing fecal incontinence.

Common Signs of Impacted Bowels Include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bad breath
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Hardened feces
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting

Rectal infections often occur as a result of impacted bowels. When left untreated, these infections can lead to sepsis or death.

Crohn’s disease is one of the most common causes of impacted bowels. In a nursing home setting, though, there are other causes, such as consuming inadequate amounts of fiber, failing to drink enough water, lack of activity, prescription medications, consumption of processed foods, and eating diets that are high in fat.

Timely treatments for impacted bowels include high fiber diets, extra water consumption, daily exercises, enemas, suppositories, and/or laxatives. In some cases, the manual removal of hardened feces may be required.

The unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle of many nursing home residents creates a highly favorable environment for the development of impacted bowels. When exploring nursing home options, look for those that offer proper nutrition, physical activity opportunities for all patients, and those that monitor bowel movements and toileting daily.

If you have a loved one who has become injured or died as a result of inattentive nursing home staff and conditions, consider contacting nursing home abuse attorneys to review your situation. It’s not only about getting justice for the abuse your loved one suffered, but also preventing the same fate from happening to another family.

Accountability for abuse and neglect in elder care is important. Garcia & Artigliere understands your pain and will help fight for justice for your loved one and to hold those responsible accountable.


We offer free and confidential consultations. Call (800) 328-2630 Learn About Your Legal Options

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