Nursing Home Infection

Serious infections and infectious diseases are a very common occurrence in many nursing homes. Nursing Home Infection control measures should be based upon the specific setting of a nursing home and its residents. The goals of nursing homes are inherently different than those of hospitals and this will affect how infections are treated and controlled. Infections can occur through lack of proper hygiene, improper food safety, and building safety. There are several common infections that are seen in nursing homes that include the  flu, HIV, MRSA and VSRA.  These are just a few examples of nursing home infections and there are many more different types.

In a nursing home there is a higher rate of functional disability, dementia, incontinence, poor oral hygiene, and swallowing difficulties. This leads the most common nursing home infection to be pneumonia, urinary tract infection, and skin and soft-tissue infection. Skin and soft-tissue infections are the third-most common infection in nursing home residents, primarily occurring because of skin breakdown secondary to physical trauma, maceration related to immobility, or device use. Because of multiple comorbidities and disabilities, nursing home residents are more likely to require invasive medical devices (eg, feeding tube, tracheostomy, chronic indwelling urinary catheter, cardiac devices).

Signs of Nursing Home Infection

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Bedsores
  • Congested sinuses
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

 

Given the aging of the population with growing functional disability, there is a greater risk that an elder patient may be at risk in a nursing home environment. Prevention of influenza in the nursing home may come as a simple plan to administer flu vaccinations each year. Clean nursing home facilities can also be a major factor in preventing infections in senior citizens. An attorney can evaluate the effectiveness of specific health interventions to prevent and control infection in nursing homes and see if they fall below the normal standard of care. The nursing home could then possibly be liable in a negligence lawsuit.