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What to Do If Your Loved One Has Scabies in a Nursing Home

Deciding to move a loved one into a nursing home is always difficult. It requires you and your family to place immense trust in the facility’s hands. Unfortunately, many nursing homes in Ohio fall short of fulfilling their responsibilities. At Tittle & Perlmuter, we witness the devastating consequences of nursing home neglect. The presence of scabies can point to understaffing, abuse, or neglect in a nursing home.

What to Do If Your Loved One Has Scabies in a Nursing Home

What is Scabies?

Scabies results from an infestation of the upper layer of the skin by tiny mites, invisible to the naked eye. Female mites burrow into the skin to lay eggs, increasing the mite population within the skin. Scabies is primarily transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. In severe cases, it can spread easily via direct touch or contamination of items such as clothing, bedding, and furniture. Nursing home patients are more likely to develop complications from scabies than the general population.

What are Common Signs of Scabies?

Scabies mites can cause a distinctive rash of crooked, raised lines and pimple-like bumps or blisters. The most common symptoms include intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash. Frequent sites for this rash include:

  • Webbing between the fingers
  • Wrists
  • Elbows
  • Armpits
  • Knees
  • Back
  • Genitals or buttocks


This rash often comes with intense itching, particularly at night. For older individuals and those in densely populated living centers, this can pose a significant risk. Excessive scratching can lead to open wounds, increasing the chance of bacterial infection.

How is Scabies Treated?

As scabies is a parasite infestation, it won’t disappear without treatment. Prescription medications—either topical, oral, or sometimes both—are used to combat scabies. Various creams and lotions are available, and it’s crucial to follow the instructions diligently. For severe cases or for elderly and immunocompromised individuals, a pill might be administered.

What is Severe Scabies—Crusted (also known as Norwegian)?

A more severe form of scabies is the Norwegian, or crusted, variant. This type is particularly hazardous for people with a weakened immune system, the elderly, and the disabled. When someone has this type of scabies, they may develop thick skin crusts without displaying the traditional rash or itching signs. This severe form of scabies is highly contagious and requires aggressive treatment.

Scabies from Nursing Home

Prevention of Scabies

Nursing homes can implement several precautions against scabies. To prevent scabies outbreaks, nursing homes can:

  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces
  • Providing residents with their own personal items, such as towels, washcloths, and bed linens
  • Educating residents and staff about the signs and symptoms of scabies
  • Screening new residents for scabies
  • Treating residents who have scabies promptly

When is Scabies a Sign of Nursing Home Negligence?

If your loved one has experienced a scabies outbreak while in a nursing home, it may indicate neglect. Such neglect within nursing homes is a grave issue, leading to physical injuries, emotional distress, and in some cases, even death. To help you navigate this, we offer a free copy of our Ohio Nursing Home Guide.

Preventing scabies outbreaks necessitates early detection, timely treatment, and the implementation of stringent isolation and infection control measures. Nursing homes must maintain a vigilant watch for undiagnosed skin conditions, irrespective of the presence of common scabies symptoms like itching. Scabies prevention hinges on avoiding direct skin contact with an infected person and indirect contact with items like clothing or bedding used by a person with scabies. The likelihood of indirect spread increases significantly with crusted scabies.

In the interest of safeguarding their residents, nursing homes must meticulously screen new patients and employees for skin conditions that could be indicative of scabies. The re-emergence of scabies in a staff member who has previously had the infection can serve as an early warning sign of an unnoticed case in a patient. It is crucial to procure skin scrapings, which should be thoroughly examined by professionals trained in identifying scabies mites. Proper isolation and infection control measures, including the use of gloves, gowns, and avoidance of direct skin contact, should be employed when caring for potential scabies patients.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Attorney

Failure to follow these practices endangers your loved ones. Nursing home residents possess extensive legal rights and protections that demand respect. We at Tittle & Perlmuter are committed to holding nursing homes to the highest accountability standards.

If you notice signs of unaddressed or untreated scabies, it should trigger an immediate and thorough investigation. Your loved ones are entitled to proper care by law, and any nursing home failing to provide this must be held accountable to the full extent of the law.

Tittle & Perlmuter nursing home abuse attorneys specialize in nursing home abuse and have extensive experience handling complex neglect claims. If your vulnerable loved one suffers from scabies in a nursing home, we urge you to contact our law firm today for immediate assistance.