Everyone gets sick from time to time. Whether it is a cold or something more serious, most people can recover with the help of a qualified medical professional. However, for nursing home residents, even a common virus could be potentially life-threatening.
If your family member suffered a serious illness or lost their life because of a nursing home’s failure to prevent an outbreak, a Louisiana infections outbreak and disease lawyer may be able to help. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is committed to pursuing justice against negligent, abusive, and unsafe conditions in Louisiana nursing homes.
Call us today at (800) 842-6336 to begin a free case evaluation with a member of our team. We encourage you to ask any questions that you may have regarding your case, legal options, and potential compensable losses.
Nursing Homes Have a Legal Duty of Care
Many families try to safeguard their elderly loved ones against threats of injury or illness by investing in long-term care solutions. Sometimes, this involves relocating a senior to a nursing home. Such places provide residents with varying support levels, from helping with essential activities of daily living to providing specialized medical care in a safe environment.
Unfortunately, not all care facilities have the residents’ best interests in mind. Although nursing homes have a “duty of care” to ensure residents’ health and safety, some fail to do so. Nursing homes have both a legal and moral obligation to provide the best possible living conditions for elderly residents.
- Regularly monitoring residents for symptoms of disease and infection
- Screening nursing home care staff before hiring them
- Responding to claims of illness or general discomfort
- Quarantining residents who have an illness or could contract an illness
- Providing prompt medical care to those exhibiting signs of infection
- Regularly bathing, repositioning residents, and providing sterile living conditions
According to Clinical Infectious Diseases, nursing homes are uniquely high-risk environments in which infectious diseases can spread rapidly. Nursing home administrators must remain aware of any threats to residents’ health, whether it be due to a nationwide pandemic or an isolated incident. Otherwise, they risk opening themselves up to liability when any complications occur.
Outbreaks in Nursing Homes Explained
The New York Times reported that about one-fifth of novel COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. were linked to nursing homes. The worldwide pandemic sparked many concerns regarding the sanitization of nursing homes and the preventative measures caretakers employ to protect elderly residents.
MedlinePlus explains that many reasons make elderly people more susceptible to disease.
These reasons include:
- Comorbid conditions. Many older people struggle with high blood pressure, diabetes, and various autoimmune disorders. This makes them more likely to develop life-threatening health conditions in the face of an outbreak.
- Changes in the immune system. Your immune system becomes weaker over the course of your life. Medications that once eradicated illness may no longer work. Vaccines may not provide the same level of protection that they used to. If one does not take proper preventative measures, they risk contracting a serious illness.
- Slower healing time. When a young adult suffers a cut or scratch, their body typically works very quickly to heal the injury. However, an older person’s body does not. If a cut or scratch goes unaddressed, it may put the senior at risk of developing an infection.
Nursing homes are obligated to understand these risks and take the necessary steps to mitigate them. Most outbreaks are preventable. Unfortunately, not all facilities take a proactive approach to residents’ health and safety. If your loved one’s nursing home failed in its obligation to promote residents’ wellbeing, you may have the grounds of an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Preventative Measures Nursing Homes Should Take
Nursing homes can take several steps to minimize the risk of an infection or disease outbreak. They must employ various measures to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their residents.
These measures include:
● Employing various sanitization measures, washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, and using personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gowns, and face masks
● Minimizing the use of catheters, which can contribute to urinary tract infections
● Requiring visitors to practice proper hygiene
● Frequently washing linens
● Changing residents’ diapers promptly and frequently
● Isolating residents who have contagious conditions
● Regularly screening residents and staff for common diseases and infections
● Keeping common area facilities clean
These are basic medical practices proven to reduce the spread of infection and disease. Everyone, including nurses, doctors, and periphery staff, should practice these measures as a part of their duty of care to residents.
Federal law requires nursing homes to have an infection control program. Those who do not have one, or do not practice and enforce it, may be liable for any resulting harm. When a nursing home’s negligence leads to serious illnesses, injuries, or death, they may be responsible for victims’ losses. This may include payment for medical treatment, the cost of relocating to a new facility, or if a patient dies, the cost of their funeral and burial expenses.
A Louisiana infections outbreak and disease lawyer can help you determine if your family has the grounds for a claim or lawsuit to recover financial awards.
Examples of Infections and Diseases in Nursing Homes
Aging Health notes that because of seniors’ weakened immune systems and pre-existing health conditions, they are at risk of contracting serious illnesses.
Some types of infections and diseases in nursing homes include:
● Skin and soft tissue infections
● Respiratory infections, such as pneumonia
● Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
● Antibiotic-resistant staph infections
Even if you do not see your loved one’s condition listed here, you still have legal options. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to start exploring your financial recovery options.
Find Out How an Attorney Can Help You
Our legal team believes that no one should suffer from a preventable infection or disease. If your family member has fallen ill or died because of an outbreak or disease in a nursing home, a Louisiana infections outbreak and disease lawyer can provide legal assistance.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to speak with a member of our team.