I came across a gruesome story that reinforces the need for better oversight of nursing homes: a patient attacked by mice. Staff members doing room checks discovered a group of mice literally eating a patient’s face. The woman, who has dementia and is physically immobile, could not escape from the mice nor call out for help. This is truly a nightmare situation that no one would want their loved one to endure. The woman survived the attack and is recovering, but is obviously still emotionally traumatized from the event. The manager of the facility claims they struggle with mice issues because of a nearby farm. The same facility has also had issues with bedbugs.
This incident took place in Canada, and it was interesting to read the comments associated with the story because it appears Canadians and Americans are struggling with similar problems when it comes to senior care. There are not enough dedicated funds to regulate and fully staff senior care facilities, which can lead to horrible cases such as the one in the news this week. Once again, it seems that seniors are being forgotten by politicians. With all of the bluster around Syria, there has been much talk about protecting the children. While no one disputes the need to keep children safe, the poor woman in that bed in the nursing home being attacked by mice was just as helpless as a baby. Where is the outrage?
For those who have loved ones with dementia in nursing homes, this is a reminder to be vigilant about looking for signs of neglect. If you see any bites, rashes or other unusual symptoms, have it checked out. When a loved one with dementia is emotionally upset, it can be hard to determine the source. If you can rule out something in their physical surroundings that is alarming them, it can give you some peace of mind. It’s difficult to imagine anything more frightening than having some creature gnawing on you and you cannot move or ask for help. We must be advocates for those who can no longer defend themselves.