At the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi, our attorneys are well versed in the aspects of elder abuse that concern injuries due to preventable infections. The harm and suffering that can result from such infections can be very damaging; we want to help you put an end to such abuses and get just compensation for all that your loved one has had to suffer.
Infections are common in skilled nursing facilities due to a number of risk factors. While nursing home residents are more susceptible to infectious diseases because of their increased age, weekend immune systems, and underlying chronic diseases, it is also more difficult to diagnose and treat them because of their frailty. Most nursing homes also lack the resources necessary to diagnose and treat infected residents in a timely manner. Infection control and treatment puts more stress on nursing home staff because of the added tasks related to cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing the environment and of the infected residents. According to a recent study, approximately 15% of all nursing homes in the U.S. received citations for deficient infection control from 2000 to 2007.
Common infectious diseases in nursing homes include urinary tract infections, skin and soft tissue infections that include pressure ulcers, infected blood vessel or diabetic foot ulcers, and infections in the stomach and intestines. Among these, the most common ones are influenza, scabies, Clostridium difficile, sepsis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites are generally responsible for spread of infections in nursing homes. Therefore, it is important to adhere to universal infection control precautions, especially the hygiene of nursing staff. Hand-washing basins and alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be provided in each room, and nursing staff should carry disposable gloves, gowns, and masks if necessary. Ongoing supervision and the fostering of nursing staff's continued adherence to these universal precautions are very effective in preventing transmission of infectious diseases in nursing homes.
Infection Control Measures
Nursing homes need to ensure that their staff are educated and trained to identify symptoms of infectious diseases and to follow infection control guidelines when an outbreak occurs. As to preventive measures, nursing staff's hand hygiene is key effective to infection control. Nursing homes should ensure that all staff members regularly wash their hands with hot water and use gloves when providing care to infected residents.
If there is an outbreak, a skilled nursing facility may have to consider isolating the infected resident to prevent a further spread. Without adequate facility space to isolate the infected residents or carriers for treatment and decolonization, nursing staff cannot successfully control the spread of infectious diseases because the staff, visitors, and other residents are exposed to them without knowledge and protection. Nursing homes should thus avoid overcrowding the facility and must provide adequate space and staff members for isolated care of infected residents. Prompt and systematic containment of infection outbreaks followed by thorough treatment measures is crucial for successful infection control, as outbreaks can spread quickly to affect large amounts of people if countermeasures are not swift and decisive.
The prevention of outbreaks of infectious diseases in the patient population is a nursing home’s duty. If your loved one has contracted a serious infection while at his or her skilled nursing facility, please contact us today. Your loved one should not be put at risk for life-threatening complications because of a nursing home’s failure to provide a safe and hygienic environment, due to lack of nursing staff or non-compliance with infection control measures. The attorneys at our offices are experts in nursing home litigation and we will rigorously pursue your case until a just resolution is achieved.