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What Causes Nursing Home Residents to Develop Infections?

Published on Dec 3, 2020 at 8:49 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

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While the intent of nursing homes is to care for your loved one who can no longer care for themselves, they can end up having a negative experience if an infection develops and spreads through the facility. Infections can easily spread through nursing homes, and since residents are elderly and part of the most vulnerable population, this can be dangerous for them.

When the spread of an infection that could’ve been avoided affects your loved one in their facility, you might have a claim on your hands. If the infection was the result of negligence or abuse from the staff, then you could need the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm in Albuquerque. We’ll fight to get your loved one the justice they deserve.

Causes of Nursing Home Infections

There are over 1.5 million people who live in nursing homes in the United States. According to an article published in Aging Health, about 88% of those residents are over 65 years of age, and 45% are over 85. There are an estimated 2 million infections in nursing homes every year, which have high rates of hospitalization and mortality.

Other than being elderly and more vulnerable to infections, one of the main causes of infections in nursing home residents is pre-existing risk factors. Some risk factors would be pre-existing conditions that weaken the immune system, medications that suppress the immune system, or indwelling devices that the resident needs in their body.

One example of an indwelling device that can cause a resident to develop an infection is a feeding tube. When elders have a feeding tube, they are more likely to develop aspiration pneumonia, which is an infection in the lungs when a patient breathes in food, saliva, or other liquids. On top of that, they could develop a skin infection around the location of the feeding tube.

Another indwelling device that is common for nursing home residents that can cause infections is a catheter. These can cause urinary tract infections as well as infections from other bacteria and sepsis. If this area is not kept clean, or the catheter is not changed regularly by the staff, then the patient could develop infections that put them at greater risk for death.

Infections Spreading Through Facilities

Since nursing homes are facilities where many residents live in close quarters and interact with each other regularly, infections can easily spread between residents. No matter how hard staff members try to keep the facility clean and minimize their ability to spread germs between patients, mistakes still happen, and residents can get infections.

There are specific infections that are most likely to spread through facilities, as they are easily transmitted infectious diseases. Here are some of the infections that are the most common to spread in a facility:

  • Pneumonia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Gastroenteritis
  • C. diff
  • Flu
  • Cellulitis
  • Erysipelas
  • Necrotizing fasciitis
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Diabetic wound infections
  • Vascular ulcers
  • Intertrigo
  • Scabies

Much like hospitals, these infections are all easily transmitted between patients when staff members aren’t careful about hygiene and cross-contamination. If residents are allowed to interact, they could also transmit the infections with one another by close contact. That’s why it’s important to immediately identify when a resident is sick so that facilities can limit the spread of infections throughout the home.

Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm Will Get You Justice

When an infection is spread in a nursing home from the negligence of a staff member, then they could be held responsible for their actions. You placed your loved one in a nursing home so that they get the proper care that they deserve. If a worker negligently spreads an infection to your loved one, it could lead to a downward spiral in their health and ultimately their death.

You shouldn’t have to worry about a staff member’s negligence risking the health of your loved one. That’s where we come in. A nursing home abuse lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help you protect the rights of your loved one and hold the worker accountable for their actions. Legal action might seem intimidating, but it helps ensure other residents don’t have to deal with the same mistreatment.

Contact our office today to find out how we can help your family.

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