Why Do Nursing Homes Smell Like Poop?

Smell of nursing home

Nursing homes are common destinations for the elderly with different health complications. Perhaps, these homes offer advanced care round the clock and work towards the well-being of the elderly. However, this common question is why nursing homes smell like “poop” or feces.

Nursing homes house patients with open wounds, bladder problems, and colon issues. Nursing homes use bleaching powder and other safety solutions to keep the place clean. Despite these attempts, the smell can persist due to the profile of the patients. Most nursing homes do NOT smell like poop and have a pleasant smell.

Perhaps, many would have assumed that nursing homes are bound to retain the smell, but the truth is different. Let us get a background about this subject in this article. 

1: Patients with dementia

It is pretty common to spot patients with dementia who experience unusual routines and behaviors. Such patients do not change their clothes or bathe regularly. They also urinate and defecate at random locations within nursing homes. Such patients also experience sensory decline, which can further attribute to excessive odor stains and “poop” odors. 

Imagine a nursing home exclusively housing dementia patients! Wouldn’t that be difficult to keep an eye on bowel movements and clean every minute? 

Though the caretakers and housekeepers tend to clean regularly, other emergencies could be demanding their engagements. As a result, if you find a nursing home smelly, it is more likely that a dementia patient is in and is unaware of his/her urine or bowel conditions. 

Most nursing homes are very aware and do their best to change residents and clean up any mess as soon as it may occur. However, there are times when this may be unavoidably delayed. 

2: Patients with bladder issues 

Aged people commonly take services of nursing homes for long-term care. Due to their age and other comorbidities, they are more likely to develop incontinence. As a result, they tend to have incontinence issues with urine and feces resulting in soiled clothing. 

While they undergo treatments to address bladder incontinence, there is a long way to go. It could also be the condition where they have passed urine in their location due to poor mobility. 

This is a widespread situation in most nursing homes. You should not be shocked or embarrassed about it! 

If you find nursing homes with such foul odors, remember to talk to the head supervisor about better routines. 

Keep in mind that the facility wants to keep its residents clean and will change them when needed. When this occurs, it is usually because the caretakers do not know the resident needs to be changed. 

3: Patients with skin problems 

Older patients develop flaky skin that can spread bad odor. This is common among patients undergoing various radiological treatments, including chemotherapy. As they experience redness and flakes on their skin, drops of these flakes on the floor can result in a foul odor. 

Nursing homes handling these patients are bound to take extra care as they have sensitive skin and can quickly react to chemical cleaners to control foul odors. Hence, it takes time to balance their needs and improve the conditions of nursing homes. 

Some patients suffer from mobility issues and consume less water. Due to dehydration, the skin sheds cells that produce a strange odor. Likewise, the urine also gets concentrated; even a drop of it can make the space smell like poop. 

4: Patients with open wounds 

Patients with diabetes or other bruises are more likely to produce a foul smell. As the wounded part gets exposed to the air, flies, and mites can enter and worsen the odor. 

If you enter a nursing home housing patients with bone problems or diabetes, you could experience the smell of poop. This can be due to the condition or limited mobility.  

5: Odor-causing products

Nursing homes can include products producing strong odor. For instance, some medical products can produce a strange odor that can make people uncomfortable.  

Nursing homes are liable to keep medicines handy to meet emergencies. Most older adults take different medicines and ointments. For instance, Vicks Vapo-Rub is a commonly used product to treat breathing difficulties. This can produce an odor that can remain inconvenient to others. 

What Do Nursing Homes Use To Get Rid Of Urine Smell

Nursing homes commonly use commercial cleaners and disinfectants to cancel the odor and make the place more liveable. 

The Gastroenterol Clinic of North America reports that over 50 percent of residents of these nursing homes have incontinence and other bowel problems. While some patients wear adult diapers to avoid urine leaks, most have other comorbidities. As a result, workers might have to check the bladder content every 2 hours to eliminate urine odors earlier. 

The primary solution is to wash clothes with laundry additives. There are powerful commercial laundry cleaners that control odor-causing components and create an earthy odor that can enhance comfort.

The second solution is to install an air filter and purifier. The purpose of this device is to constantly purify the air and eliminate bad odors from circulating further. OdorKlenz is one of the highly effective brands specializing in mobile air systems, laundry additives, and other odor control solutions. 

The subsequent solution is the use of deodorizing tablets. The purpose of these tablets is to control the bad odor and circulate a pleasant odor that can kill bacteria and make the space more liveable. 

Another fundamental approach adopted by nursing homes is to increase the frequency of housekeeping when patients produce urine-like and poop-like odors. This is a great approach to keep the space clean. But what happens if the nursing homes contain too many patients? In that case, they need more housekeeping staff or rework schedules. 

How To Make A Nursing Home Smell Good

Nursing homes can smell good with early intervention for patients, a bacteria-based odor eliminator, and better housekeeping standards. 

Most nursing homes try their best to eradicate odors. Still, the subject of poop-like odor is closely linked to several factors – what patients eat, their comorbidities, bowel control, sanitation standards, housekeeping protocols, odor eliminators, and other deodorizers. Some nursing homes tend to compromise on hygiene standards due to overcrowding of patients or a shortage of workers. 

Are there tested ways to make nursing homes smell good? Well, yes! 

  • Installation of bacteria-based odor eliminators 
  • Installation of air purifiers 
  • Better laundry management
  • Revision of diet patterns
  • A round robin of housekeepers 
  • Increased frequency of monitoring patients 
  • Better mobility solutions
  • Better room for different products like cleaning materials, medical products, dresses, and other medical procedures
  • Better ventilation

These solutions are more likely to address the needs of patients without compromising hygiene standards. 

Can Nursing Homes Use Air Fresheners

Nursing homes can use air purifiers, but air fresheners are not widely used since these can result in respiratory infections and allergies for patients. 

Can Nursing Homes Use Odor Counteractants 

Odor counteractants can gel with foul odors and enter the nose of patients. As a result, the foul odor remains. Hence, these are not recommended. 

Instead, odor eliminators can be used to spread pleasant scents that do not pair with present odors. 

Final Thoughts 

As a matter of fact, the smell of nursing homes links to a variety of factors, and the patient’s profile stands at the top of the list. This is pretty common among care centers like nursing homes and hospitals. 

When you experience a poop-like odor from nursing homes, it is always advisable to recommend different tried solutions from this article. These can work well in eradicating environmental sources of bad odors and improving the overall well-being of patients and care providers. 

More importantly, let the staff know that the problem exists. The majority of nursing homes care about the residents and guest experience. They will most likely fix the issue as soon as they are able. 

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