As we age, our physical strength and ability to ward off certain diseases diminishes. Research published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal indicates that nursing home facilities are a uniquely receptive environment for the spread of infectious diseases. Nursing home residents share air, water, food, and healthcare services in a crowded setting, with limited ability to leave the nursing home facility. Additionally, visitors inadvertently bring diseases and infections with them, which results in outbreaks of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Nursing homes have a “duty of care” and a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their residents. If your elderly loved one suffered a serious injury or even death due to the negligence of a nursing home to prevent or contain an outbreak of any type of disease or infection, consider learning how a San Francisco infections outbreak and disease lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may help you receive compensation for your loved one’s injuries. Please call us for a free consultation.
Types of Infection and Disease Outbreaks in Nursing Homes
According to research in the Aging Health Journal published in the National Institutes of Health, over 1.5 million people live in over 16,000 nursing homes in the United States and over 88% of those residents are over the age of 65, while over 45% are over the age of 85. There are several types of infections and disease outbreaks that can occur in a nursing home.
According to the same research listed above, lower respiratory tract infections and pneumonia are the leading cause of fatalities in nursing home residents, and the primary reason a resident needs transport to a hospital. Respiratory tract infections can come from any type of bacterial or viral infection, including the novel COVID-19 virus, which has taken the lives of many nursing home residents throughout the United States.
In many cases, pneumonia and other respiratory infections may present themselves in unique ways in the elderly, such as only 25% of all elderly will develop any kind of fever or chills. Nursing home employees must remain vigilant to watch for any unique symptoms in their elderly residents that may not mirror typical symptoms found in a healthier or younger population. With outbreaks of seasonal influenza, along with the novel coronavirus appearing in nursing homes, the risk of mortality of nursing home patients from respiratory diseases runs high. If your elderly loved one suffered injuries or died due to a respiratory outbreak or the COVID-19 virus in their nursing home due to unsafe practices or care, consider how a San Francisco infections outbreak and disease lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may help you understand your legal rights and how you may have the ability to pursue justice on behalf of your elderly loved one.
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Both bacterial and viral gastroenteritis can result in diarrheal outbreaks in nursing homes. Many elderly seniors simply do not produce enough gastric acid in their stomachs, leading to a greater risk of the development of infectious gastroenteritis. With the large intricately connected community of a nursing home, these gastrointestinal diseases can create an outbreak that leads to serious medical complications or even death. In fact, the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal indicates that over 21 million people get norovirus every year in the United States. While many younger and healthier individuals suffer for only a few days, these same gastrointestinal diseases can prove fatal to an older population in a nursing home.
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Urinary Tract Infections
There are other types of infections and diseases that also occur in nursing homes such as urinary tract infections (UTIs). Many elderly residents of nursing homes must use catheters, which greatly increases the risk of bacteria and the development of UTIs. Every nursing home should follow strict guidelines regarding the insertion of catheters to prevent and mitigate the risk of UTIs. Additionally, these catheters should be frequently replaced according to medical guidelines.
Just as important as personal hygiene, the entire nursing home facility must remain clean as well. If bathrooms and other areas are not cleaned on a consistent basis, catheters that leak can cause infections in other residents or additional infection in the resident with the catheter. Hygiene is exceptionally important and critical around elderly residents who simply do not have the stronger immune systems that younger, healthier adults do.
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Skin and Soft Tissue Infections
Older residents of nursing homes have thinner skin, which makes them much more susceptible to skin and soft tissue infections. The epidermis and dermis simply do not have as much thickness, and wounds tend to heal slower in the elderly. Therefore, any bacterial infections that occur in a nursing home can spread easily to all the residents, such as bacterial infections that result in cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis, and erysipelas.
Any infection in an elderly resident should receive immediate medical treatment and additional measures should be taken to ensure that the entire nursing home facility remains as free from bacteria and diseases as possible. Often, these types of infections will occur due to a lack of hygiene and cleanliness in the nursing home. Some of these infections and diseases spread in nursing homes, not from actual resident-to-resident, but due to unhygienic practices and lack of overall cleanliness in the nursing home. Nursing homes have a responsibility to ensure that all areas remain clean for their residents and that they isolate any residents that may suffer from contagious infections or diseases.
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Consider How a San Francisco Infections Outbreak and Disease Lawyer Can Help You
If you believe your elderly loved one suffered injuries or even death due to the negligence of the nursing home management or staff to keep the nursing home free from infectious diseases and control outbreaks, consider how a San Francisco infections outbreak and disease lawyer can help you possibly obtain justice on behalf of your elderly loved one. Contact our legal team for free at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you understand your legal rights.