A recent Columbia University School of Nursing five-year study of infection
rates in American nursing homes found that a greater percentage of residents
are experiencing infections, many of which are life-threatening. The study
found increased prevalence of pneumonia, urinary tract infections, viral
hepatitis, septicemia, wound infections, and multiple drug-resistant organisms.
In fact, the study found that the prevalence of nearly all infections
has increased in recent years in nursing home populations.
The study emphasizes the importance of proactive measures that nursing
homes and their employees can take to protect residents. To reduce urinary
tract infection rates, the study suggests decreasing the use of catheters
and increasing the frequency of assisted trips to the bathroom. In order
to reduce pneumonia and other airborne illnesses, the study stresses the
importance of hand-washing. In regards to multiple drug-resistant organisms, such as
C. difficile and methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus, the study emphasizes the importance of regularly screening all nursing
home residents. When a resident is found to have an infection, it is important
to provide that resident with a private room in order to contain the infection.
Another measure that can be taken to decrease the spread of infections
within nursing homes is to ensure employees regularly wear and change
gloves thus limiting cross-contamination between and additional exposures
to nursing home residents.
Many of these solutions are simple, common-sense measures that can be taken
to protect nursing home residents from the increased infection rates that
have recently plagued the group-living environments of typical American
nursing homes. Despite the simplicity of these protective measures, it
is an unfortunate reality that nursing home residents will continue to
suffer preventable infections. These problems will be enhanced by chronic
understaffing that is a current barrier to quality nursing home care.
If you or a loved one has suffered severe infections or your loved one
has died as a result of poor nursing home care, then
call our family of West Virginia
personal injury attorneys and tell us your story. We provide aggressive, compassionate
representation to ensure that our clients are fully compensated under
the law and seek to improve the quality of care and living conditions
in nursing homes.