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.