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Infections in Nursing Homes

infections in nursing homes

Nursing home residents are more susceptible than the general public to infections such as sepsis and skin and soft tissue infections.  When infections strike, the rates of morbidity and mortality are higher for nursing home residents, as well.  Nursing home staff and administrators are required to take steps to prevent infection and to ensure that residents suffering an infection receive appropriate and timely medical care.

When nursing homes fail this duty of care, victims and their families may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.  If you suspect that a nursing home resident is suffering an infection due to nursing home abuse or neglect, call Nursing Home Abuse Center. 

Nursing home residents have legal rights.  To find out more, call our nursing home abuse lawyer at 1-866-548-9636 to discuss the specifics of your case.

What Are the Risks of Infections for Nursing Home Residents?

Infections can have a variety of negative outcomes for nursing home residents, including:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Extended hospital stays
  • Secondary infections
  • Dehydration
  • Spread of infection to other tissues and body systems

Antibiotic resistance is becoming more common in nursing homes, which makes infection prevention even more important.  In severe cases, such as when sepsis progresses to the point of septic shock, the patient can even die.

What Causes Infections in Nursing Homes?

Elderly residents typically have ongoing medical conditions and weaker immune systems than younger people.  That means there is a high risk for infection in nursing homes.  Some of the most common types of infections in nursing home residents are:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Gastroenteritis and other gastrointestinal infections
  • Influenza
  • Skin infections
  • STIs
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections such as MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)

Some infections, such as sepsis and STIs, can be symptomatic of a larger issue of nursing home neglect or abuse.  It is important that infections in nursing homes are reported and treated promptly.

Who Is at Risk?

All nursing home residents have an elevated risk of infection.  However, there are factors that can make a resident even more susceptible, such as:

  • Inappropriate antibiotic usage
  • Poor hand hygiene by caregivers, food preparation staff or medical professionals
  • Inadequate cleaning and sanitation of private and public areas
  • Indwelling devices such as urinary catheters, medication ports, or feeding tubes
  • Open wounds, including sacral ulcers and bedsores
  • Recent hospital admission
  • Other illness or immune deficiency

Nursing homes are required to take steps to control outbreaks.  This may mean isolating infected residents, escalating cleaning requirements, providing additional hygienic and safety equipment to staff, and more.  Nursing homes that fail to act appropriately during an outbreak may be found liable for breaching their duty of care to their residents.

How Much Compensation Is Available to Victims of Infections in Nursing Homes?

If a loved one has experienced the detrimental effects of an infection while in nursing home care, you are not alone.  At Nursing Home Abuse Center, we can help bring those responsible for yours and your loved one’s suffering to justice.

Here are a few of the types of compensation that may be available:

  • Medical bills for emergency treatment, surgeries and ongoing care
  • Physical, cognitive or behavioral therapy as it relates to the infection
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Pain management
  • Trauma from pain and suffering
  • Funeral expenses, cost of burial or cremation, loss of consortium and other compensation associated with a wrongful death when a nursing home resident suffered an infection before passing away

We help nursing home residents and their caregivers understand their legal rights.  If you or a loved one have questions about an infection while in nursing home care, we may be able to assist you.

What To Do About Infections in Nursing Homes

During an outbreak, infections can affect each resident differently.  One person may experience an infection far more severe than others, depending on their existing medical conditions and other risk factors.  It is critical that residents are given access to medical care immediately when they have an infection.

It is also important to gather and document as much information as possible.  Were nursing home staff made aware of the infection?  What action did caregivers and administrators take afterward?  How long did the infection last?  Is this a recurring infection?  What medical tests were used to diagnose the infection? How was the infection treated?

These questions help to ensure that the resident receives the best care possible.  This documentation is also key in proving damages if the infection is the result of, or made worse by, the negligence of others.

Call Nursing Home Abuse Center to Learn More

There is help available to nursing home residents who have suffered severe, recurrent, or damaging infections.  Also, family members who have lost a loved one due to nursing home abuse or negligence can take action to hold responsible those who were negligent.

Call 1-866-548-9636 to learn more about the rights of nursing home residents.  Nursing Home Abuse Center can also help you determine your options for pursuing compensation in the aftermath of a damaging infection.