As they grow older, seniors need more help with daily living activities, often beyond the capacity that family and friends can provide. A nursing home should be a safe place where your loved one receives the care they need, yet this is not always the case.
If your loved one contracted an infection in the nursing home where they live, it is critical to determine its root cause. Sometimes, even after the infection, nursing home staff do not follow the right procedures to manage it, causing more serious health conditions or even death.
It can be devastating to learn that your family member is receiving sub-par care or even neglect and abuse at the hands of nursing home staff. Our Louisville untreated infections lawyer can help you investigate such circumstances and hold the nursing home accountable for your loved one’s injuries. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
Common Infections Nursing Home Residents May Contract
Residents of nursing homes live in close quarters, making it easier for infections and diseases to spread. Certain infections are fairly common in the nursing home environment, including:
- Gastrointestinal infections. This includes infections from H. pylori (peptic ulcers), E. coli (diarrhea), or C. difficile (diarrhea). When left untreated, they can cause chronic GI diseases like gastritis or peptic ulcers, among others.
- Influenza. The flu can develop into pneumonia or cause respiratory complications in patients with asthma and similar chronic conditions.
- Pneumonia. This leads to reduced lung function and affects respiratory performance. Pneumonia may not present with fever in the elderly and can cause confusion or delirium. It is potentially fatal if poorly managed.
- Skin infections. These are often caused by living in unsanitary environments or sharing personal items. Some include fungal skin infections, pressure ulcers, shingles, cellulitis, and herpes, among others. They spread quickly and can be tough to treat, especially if not caught early.
- Urinary tract infections. UTIs can progress into kidney diseases if untreated. Incidence increases from catheter use or poor hygiene.
Many other severe infections can damage limbs, tissues, or organ systems, reducing your loved one’s quality of life. Infections require early diagnosis and aggressive treatment to reduce the likelihood of complications.
The Vulnerability of Older Adults to Infections in Nursing Homes
Older adults tend to have weakened immune systems. Therefore, they are more susceptible to potential infections. Even benign infections can result in serious complications. Older adults are often fighting one or more chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, or hypertension. These illnesses weaken their bodies even further.
Due to their vulnerability, caregivers in nursing homes have a duty to take extra care to protect all residents from potential infections. However, symptoms of infection are different in older adults. Hence, they must watch them closely and begin treatment when early signs of infection manifest.
Fever is the universal sign of infection, but the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases reports that 20 to 30% of seniors show little or no fever when infected. This leads to diagnostic delays, from which complications may arise. Cognitive impairment is a possible complication of an infection, as well. Elderly persons are likely to suffer cognitive impairments, which makes it harder to express how they feel.
Infections in elderly persons may also lead to rapid weight loss, respiratory system changes, falls, sepsis and septic shock, and even death. Therefore, nursing home caregivers must have the training to identify signs of infection in residents and take immediate action to improve the outcomes. They must know the subtle signs to watch out for, or else they could be liable for negligence.
For a free legal consultation with a Untreated Infections Lawyer serving Louisville, call (800) 842-6336
Possible Causes of Untreated Infections
There are many underlying reasons why a nursing home resident may not receive rapid treatment for an infection. Complications from untreated infections may arise if the staff:
- Does not have the training to know the signs of infections in seniors
- Mistakes symptoms of infection for normal issues of aging
- Is overworked, and therefore not able to spend enough time observing residents
- Willfully ignores a resident’s complaints regarding their health and discomfort
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Recoverable Damages in Untreated Infections Cases
Depending on the cause and outcome of an infection, the nursing home or its staff may be liable to pay damages. This compensation provides for the tangible and intangible losses your loved one suffered. Some payable damages include the following:
- Medical expenses, including rehabilitative care
- Lost income where applicable
- Physical pain and suffering
- Permanent disability or chronic pain
- Wrongful death, if they passed away
- Emotional distress or mental anguish
Sometimes there was deliberate abuse or gross negligence in how the staff handled a resident leading up to their injuries. In that case, the court may also award punitive damages to punish the nursing home and staff for their actions. In some cases, criminal charges may be brought against the liable parties.
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Kentucky Statute of Limitations
According to Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) §413.140 (1), you have only one year from the injury date to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties. One year is a very short time if you consider how much time it takes to consult a personal injury lawyer, investigate the case facts, and build a strong case.
Therefore, it is best to consult an attorney soonest possible after your loved one’s injury. This will give you the time to make a strong case and win fair compensation for your troubles.
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Contact a Louisville Untreated Infections Lawyer
If you suspect that your loved one suffered an infection because of nursing home negligence, you may be eligible to seek compensation. First, ensure your loved one has received medical attention and is in stable condition. After that, consult a Louisville untreated infections lawyer to help you investigate the causes of the infection.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we represent victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We will work hard to help your loved one receive justice and compensation. By taking action, you can also help bring change so that others do not undergo the same treatment that your loved one did. Call us today at (800) 842-6336 for your free, confidential case review.