Peoria Nursing Home Sepsis Lawyers
Legal Options for Families Dealing with Nursing Home Infections
Nursing home infections are a serious and growing concern for many families. As the population ages, more people are living in long-term care facilities where they may be at risk of infection due to overcrowding or inadequate hygiene practices. Unfortunately, these infections can have serious repercussions, including sepsis and other potentially life-threatening illnesses. In situations where a person has contracted a dangerous infection as a patient at a nursing home, family members will need to determine how to address this issue, and they will also need to understand their legal options as they take steps to protect their loved one’s health and safety.
The caring, compassionate team at Nursing Home Injury Center understands the anguish that families may experience when a loved one has suffered harm due to the negligence of a nursing home. We strive to ensure that families can respond to these matters correctly. We can help ensure that your loved one receives the proper care and treatment, and we can also make sure the negligence of a facility or its staff members is properly addressed. Our goal is to help families move forward in these difficult situations while taking steps to prevent similar nursing home injuries in the future.
What Are Some Common Types of Nursing Home Infections?
The spread of infections in nursing homes is a major health concern for elderly residents and their families. These infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites, and they can range from mild to severe. Nursing homes may not have effective methods of preventing infections, which can cause a heightened risk of contagion.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common types of nursing home infections. Bacteria can enter the urinary system, causing inflammation and discomfort. Symptoms include pain during urination, frequent urination, cloudy urine, fever, and abdominal discomfort. Untreated UTIs may result in serious issues, including harm to the kidneys or sepsis.
Respiratory infections can also be contracted in nursing homes due to contact with other infected individuals or airborne pathogens. Respiratory issues such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and flu can arise from contact with other infected people or airborne pathogens in care facilities. Gastrointestinal infections may also occur due to food-borne pathogens such as salmonella or E. coli. These infections may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration, as well as other serious compliations.
Another type of bacterial infection that is commonly found in nursing homes, Clostridium difficile (C-diff), is typically attributed to poor sanitation practices and inadequate hand hygiene among staff members. C-diff can cause diarrhea that may contain blood or mucus, as well as abdominal cramping and fever. In serious cases, these infections can result in colitis, a dangerous inflammation of the colon. Treatment typically involves the administration of antibiotics, although some cases require hospitalization to ensure that a patient receives IV fluids and other medications to limit the severity of their symptoms.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been gaining traction in nursing homes due to its capacity for spreading quickly between people living in close quarters, especially when common surfaces such as doorknobs or bathroom fixtures are not disinfected appropriately. This type of infection can lead to skin lesions. If immediate treatment, such as topical ointments or oral antibiotics prescribed by a doctor, is not provided, lesions may become infected and progress into deeper tissue layers, leading to causing more serious issues like abscesses that require surgical drainage so healing can commence properly.
Indwelling catheters used in long term care facilities increase the risk of developing many different types of infectious diseases. These may include bloodstream infections caused by contaminated catheter tips being inserted into a patient’s body. This type of infection requires immediate medical attention, since it has potential life-threatening consequences, especially for older adults with weakened immune systems.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Infections?
Nursing home infections may affect residents in a variety of ways depending on the nature of the infection, the treatment that is provided, and the underlying health issues that affect a person. Nursing home staff members should be trained to recognize the symptoms of infections, which may include:
- Fever – A significant increase in a person’s body temperature may indicate an infection in the body. Patients who experience fevers should be closely monitored by nursing home staff, and treatment may need to be provided to ensure that high temperatures do not damage their bodily systems.
- Chills – Feelings of cold or shivering will often accompany a fever, but they may also occur without one, especially if there is an underlying condition or other illness present in addition to the infection. Patients should receive care and treatment to ensure that their comfort can be maintained as much as possible.
- Fatigue – Nursing home infections may cause residents to experience an abnormal degree of weariness or exhaustion, and these symptoms should be addressed promptly by staff members.
- Confusion – Infections can sometimes cause changes in mental status, and residents may become easily confused or disoriented. In these situations, a person should be checked out right away by a doctor or nurse practitioner, as confusion could indicate serious issues that could cause long-term harm to a patient’s brain functions or mental health.
- Pain and discomfort – Infections may be accompanied by symptoms such as redness, swelling, tenderness, or a sensation of heat in different parts of the body. An immediate medical checkup should be performed for anyone exhibiting these symptoms in order to address any underlying health issues.
- Respiratory issues – A person may experience difficulty breathing, or they may cough up mucus, which could indicate pneumonia or other types of respiratory infections. It is essential to ensure that these issues are treated immediately to prevent further harm from occurring.
What Is Sepsis?
In some cases, an infection may trigger a strong inflammatory response that affects systems throughout the body. Sepsis is often caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites entering the bloodstream, and it can result in serious organ damage and even death. Sepsis can occur in any age group, but it is especially common among elderly nursing home residents due to their weakened immune systems and increased risk of infections.
Signs of sepsis may differ based on the root source, but they may include high fevers, shivering, accelerated respiration or heart rate, disorientation or confusion, hypotension (low blood pressure), extreme fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, a person may exhibit skin discoloration (known as “mottling”) around their fingers and toes, and this may indicate damage to internal organs. Septic shock may result in a lack of oxygenated blood flow to a patient’s body and brain, and this could prove fatal if left untreated.
Immediate medical attention is needed to address sepsis, and a person may need to be hospitalized. A patient may receive antibiotics administered intravenously (IV). Other treatments may include fluids given through IV lines to restore hydration levels and oxygen therapy. If surgery is necessary, it may involve removing a source of infection, such as an abscessed tooth or infected wound.
There are a number of risk factors for sepsis among nursing home residents. These include chronic illnesses like diabetes, being immunocompromised from cancer treatments, and having open wounds such as bedsores. Other risks may include using catheters, taking certain medications such as steroids, poor nutrition status due to malnutrition or dehydration, and living in unsanitary conditions due to inadequate hygiene measures provided by staff members.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Nursing Home Infections?
Unfortunately, the close quarters of nursing homes and other long-term care settings can facilitate the rapid transmission of infections if the proper sanitary procedures are not followed. Infectious diseases may spread through contact with an infected person or object, or airborne infections may be passed between patients in common areas of a nursing home. Infections may also be caused by poor hygiene practices by nursing home staff members, such as failing to change bedding regularly or failing to wash their hands after changing diapers or handling bodily fluids. In some cases, infections may occur if medical equipment such as catheters or syringes are not sanitized properly. Staff members who are not properly trained in sanitary procedures may put residents at risk of dangerous infections. Understaffing at nursing homes can also increase these risks, since staff members who must rush to provide care for numerous patients in a short period of time may fail to take the correct steps to sanitize equipment, surfaces, bedding, clothing, or other possible vectors of infection.
Providing Assistance for Families Who Have Been Affected by Nursing Home Infections
Nursing home infections can be devastating for those affected and their families, and they can lead to multiple types of serious consequences. A person’s health and well-being may suffer, and their life may even be put at risk. If your loved one has been affected by a nursing home infection, it is essential to be aware of the potential legal remedies that are available to you and the steps you can take to protect their ongoing health. Our team is ready to assist you, and we can determine whether an infection occurred because of nursing home negligence. We can make sure your loved one’s rights and interests will be protected, and we will help you determine how to address improper procedures, understaffing, or other issues that increased the risks of infections at a nursing home.
Contact the experienced team at Nursing Home Injury Center today by calling 309-524-6900. We are dedicated to helping families seek justice for injuries caused by nursing home neglect. We will provide you with a free consultation and help you understand your options. We look forward to making sure your family can address these issues and ensure that your loved one receives the care they need and deserve.