Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)

If your loved one has contracted Clostridium difficile while in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is important that you not sit back and allow any neglect that your loved one may be suffering to continue. The Los Angeles infection lawyers of the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi in Los Angeles are dedicated to fighting nursing home and assisted living neglect and can be of assistance to you. The best course of action is to find out more about the condition and then speak to an attorney to discuss your case and possible courses of legal action. Contact us at any time and our experienced team of elder abuse attorneys will be happy to talk to you about your case in a free consultation.

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections, which cause inflammation of the colon, are unfortunately prevalent in California nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Symptoms of a C. diff infection include frequent diarrhea for 2 to 3 days, fever, cramping, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. If the infection is severe, blood may be found in feces.

The high incidence of C. diff infections in facilities is generally due to their residents' age-related changes in fecal flora, immune functions, and underlying chronic diseases that require use of antibiotics. C. diff infections often occur to patients or residents who have received antibiotic treatment for another medical condition because other bacteria that have been suppressing the C. diff bacteria in the intestine are killed by antibiotics, allowing the C. diff population to grow and cause a full-blown infection. If your loved one has suffered harm because of a C. diff infection contracted at a nursing home, you may want to call a Los Angeles infection attorney.

For many people, a C. diff infection can be cured with antibiotics within 10 days. However, for infection control purposes, all symptomatic patients or residents must immediately be isolated until their diarrhea has resolved. Because people can be infected by touching items or surfaces that are contaminated with feces, shared instruments such as toilets, bath tubs, and rectal thermometers must be thoroughly cleansed and decontaminated. This is especially important as C. diff is quite resistant to chemical disinfection and can survive in the environment for weeks to months. Staff's hand hygiene is thus the key for infection control. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities need to make sure that all of their staff members follow established hand washing practices to ensure proper hygiene and use gloves when cleaning and caring for infected residents. (More information on infection control procedures is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

Despite the elevated risks facing the elderly, C. diff infections are generally preventable with close monitoring, supervision and proper implementation of infection control programs. Equally important is the staff's ability to deal with the aftermath of a C. diff infection. Frequent diarrhea means that nurses must be educated on proper incontinence care. The staff must ensure that each resident's dignity is maintained throughout the symptomatic period and that the diapers and bed linens of each patient are consistently and quickly cleaned and changed. Unfortunately, many California nursing home residents suffer greatly from loss of dignity and discomfort when their nursing home does not employ adequate numbers of personnel to efficiently and sympathetically deal with any incontinence events caused by C. diff infections. Failure by the facility to quickly respond to such incidences leaves patients in unhygienic conditions and places them a risk for further infections and injuries, such as pressure sores.

Outbreaks of C. diff and other infectious diseases can be very difficult to contain and control, requiring a swift and organized infection control response. This requires both sufficient quarantine space and adequate numbers of trained staff to carry through with all measures. Such preparedness is part of the facility’s responsibility and mandated by the Patients’ Bill of Rights for skilled nursing facilities, guaranteeing all nursing home residents to a safe and healthy living environment.

If your loved one has contracted a C. diff infection, and suffered severe side-effects because of his or her facility’s lack of proper infection control and care, please contact the Los Angeles infection attorneys at the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi today. We have a team of attorneys who are experts in elder abuse and neglect litigation and will do all they can to help your loved one realize the quality of care to which he or she is entitled to by law.

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