Smoking inside or on the grounds of a nursing home is a hot topic, one that has influenced many laws and lawsuits in prior years. While nursing home patients that are smokers fight for their rights to continue smoking, others are fighting to have smoking banned altogether in nursing homes. Whatever side you land on, everyone can agree that patients need to be protected from smoking accidents and injuries while under the care of a nursing home.
Smoking Dangers In Nursing Homes Posed To Patients
There are many unique dangers for smoking in or around nursing homes. While smoking has its own health risks, the dangers for fires and burns are risks not only to the smoker, but other patients that live in these facilities. It is the responsibility of the nursing home administration and staff to ensure that allowing smoking on the premises does not cause harm or injury to the patients that are in their care. Common smoking dangers in nursing homes include:
- Oxygen tanks. Many residents in nursing homes may use oxygen tanks, creating a larger risk for fire if exposed to a flame or burning cigarette.
- Second hand smoke. Nursing homes must protect their patients from second hand smoke by creating smoke-free areas and providing proper ventilation when smoking is allowed indoors.
- Physical and mental limitations. Nursing home staff need to monitor smoking and fire use, especially with those with mental and physical limitations. Some may not be able to extinguish their cigarettes to prevent fires or burns while others may have disabilities such as dementia that may put themselves and others in danger when allowed access to lighters and matches.
Smoking Injuries In Nursing Homes
Although every state and nursing home may have different policies when it comes to smoking, there is no federal regulation that prohibits smoking in these facilities. If smoking is allowed on the nursing home property, then it becomes the responsibility of that nursing home to prevent injuries to their patients from smoking and fire.
The first concern is protecting the smoker from injuring themselves. Just like any activity in a nursing home, there needs to be precautions in place to prevent accidents and injuries. This can be achieved through constant supervision in smoking areas as well as monitoring of lighting devices.
The largest concern is that of fire. The U.S. Fire Administration has identified smoking as the top cause of fire related deaths in the elderly. If a patient accidentally starts a fire due to not being carefully monitored by the nursing home staff, it can put all the patients in that home at risk of injuries and even death. Due to the limited mobility of patients, the close quarters and the amount of flammable materials within a nursing home, once a fire is started, it can put everyone in the facility in mortal danger.
Nursing Home Injury Lawyers Helping Patients Injured In Smoking Accidents
To protect all the patients in nursing homes from smoking injuries, there needs to be stringent rules and regulations adhered to within the facility regarding smoking policy. In addition, all smoke detectors and fire extinguishers need to be properly maintained and tested regularly. Nursing home staff and management need to do everything in their power to protect those in their care from becoming victims of a smoking accident.
If your loved one suffered burns or other injuries in a smoking incident at a nursing home, our attorneys our interested in discussing the situation with you. Our team has prosecuted smoking accidents in nursing homes and remains committed to securing the best possible outcome for you. Call use anytime to talk with a lawyer without any cost or obligation to you. 888-424-5757
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