When infectious outbreaks and diseases happen in nursing home facilities, the outcomes can turn deadly. Nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases because of risks associated with aging and group living.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 3 million serious infections happen each year in nursing homes, with as many as 380,000 people dying. Infections account for one-third of all deaths in people ages 65 and older, according to the journal American Family Physician, and remain one of the leading causes of hospitalization and death for nursing home patients.
The nursing home staff is responsible for maintaining cleanliness, both for the facility and its patients. Failure to thoroughly clean and sterilize a patient and their environment can lead to the spread of infection. If your loved one lives in a nursing home and suffered from an infectious disease, it could result from staff negligence or wrongdoing.
Infections and the unsanitary conditions that may have caused them could indicate serious issues with your loved one’s care. The occurrence of infectious diseases could be a warning that abuse or neglect may be taking place. A Savannah infectious outbreak and disease lawyer can help you investigate conditions in your loved one’s nursing home. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to speak with a team member about your case.
About Infectious Outbreaks and Disease
Nursing home residents are particularly susceptible to infectious outbreak and disease. Our immune systems naturally weaken as we age, and many residents already have other health conditions, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which increase their risk of infection.
The institutional setting of nursing homes, where residents share food, water, and healthcare in a crowded living space, can lead to outbreaks and their spread. Another danger is the potential for diseases to be brought into the nursing home via staff, visitors, and residents who transfer in and out of the facility.
Respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, skin and soft tissue infections, and urinary tract infections (UTI) are the most common types of disease outbreaks in nursing home settings. Pneumonia in older patients is especially deadly—an estimated 90% of deaths from this infectious disease occur in people ages 65 and older.
Nursing Homes and COVID-19
Recently, COVID-19 (also known as the novel coronavirus) has hit nursing homes around the country hard. The Associated Press analyzed government data in mid-June 2020 and found that more than one-fourth of COVID-19 deaths in the United States happened to residents in nursing homes.
The high rate of COVID-19 infection in nursing homes is due in part to many of the same factors that increase residents’ risk for all types of infectious outbreak and disease in institutional care settings:
- Frequent physical contact between staff and residents.
- Employees who work in multiple facilities, which increases the chances of cross-contamination.
- Residents sharing rooms.
- Residents transferring in and out of nursing homes from other facilities and hospitals.
If your loved one contracted an infectious disease while in a nursing home, poor standards of cleanliness or other forms of staff negligence could have caused their illness. A Savannah infectious outbreak and disease lawyer may be able to help you hold the nursing home accountable. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case review with a team member.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
The prevalence and spread of infectious outbreak and disease could be a sign of nursing home abuse and neglect. Staff may not maintain residents’ hygiene properly, keep the facility and equipment clean, or take adequate precautions against the spread of disease.
Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect are more common than you might think. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) cites a study of 2,000 nursing home residents, in which 44 percent said they had suffered abuse. Ninety-five percent said they had experienced or witnessed neglect. Sometimes, neglect is unintentional, though no less harmful. Neglect can occur when nursing homes are understaffed, or the staff does not receive proper training.
It is important to know the signs of abuse and neglect so that you can protect your loved one. The following could be indications of substandard care:
- Lack of mobility assistance
- Poor hygiene (e.g., lack of bathing, dirty clothing, lack of oral healthcare, or unclean facilities)
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, or other injuries
- Excessive falls and accidents
Changes in your loved one’s behavior also can serve as warning signs. Be alert for signs of depression, aggressive or violent behavior, and becoming withdrawn.
What to Do if You Suspect Abuse
If you suspect abuse, you should file a written report with the nursing home’s administration. You may also report the abuse to the local authorities, adult protective services, or an agency that advocates for the elderly. The Georgia Department of Community Health regulates nursing homes throughout the state.
Finally, you can speak with a nursing home lawyer regarding your suspicions and whether you have enough evidence to file a case against the facility. If so, you might recover the following compensation from the nursing home:
- Reimbursement for medical bills
- Relocation or transportation expenses
- Physical or mental therapy
- Pain and suffering
For a free legal consultation with an infections outbreak and disease lawyer serving Savannah, call (800) 794-0444
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Help
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we know how devastating it can be to learn that your loved one was harmed in their nursing home. We have helped families fight nursing home abuse and neglect since 1985 and have successfully helped thousands of clients across the country. We may be able to help you, too.
A Savannah infectious outbreak and disease lawyer can help you seek awards to compensate for your loved one’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. You may also seek compensation for wrongful death if your loved one died because of a nursing home’s negligence or wrongdoing.
Our legal team can help you file your claim, gather evidence to support your case, identify all responsible parties, and seek fair compensation for any damages you may be entitled to receive. For more information, contact our team for a free no-obligation consultation.