When many people live in one place, diseases often spread quickly. Older adults are more prone to some infections because of their healthcare needs, lower immune systems, and inactivity if bedridden or using a wheelchair. As such, nursing homes are tasked with preventing infections and containing them when they inevitably occur. A failure to take the necessary precautions can lead to serious harm for vulnerable residents.
Choosing to place a loved family member in a long-term care facility or nursing home is a decision you do not make lightly. You want your loved one to be safe and comfortable. If you see signs of infections, such as bedsores, urinary tract infections (UTIs), or scabies, call an experienced attorney. A skilled nursing home abuse attorney can investigate infections in Atlanta nursing homes and help pursue claims for compensation.
Many infections occur in nursing homes because of a patient’s weakened immune systems or condition requiring invasive medical equipment. For example, urinary tract infections are often caused by indwelling catheters. Covid has also been a frequent and deadly illness among nursing home residents in the past two years. Other common infections include:
This list is not exhaustive. Although infections are common, the nursing facility under federal law is expected to have protocols to control infections. If they do not, they may be liable for harm caused to a patient exposed to infections. An Atlanta lawyer could further explain a family’s legal options after their loved one contracts an infection in their nursing home.
Federal law mandates that nursing homes and other care facilities adopt a program for addressing infections through investigation, control, prevention, and record-keeping. Nursing homes must investigate and identify infections, including if broader outbreaks could occur. They must quickly educate staff about what to look for when identifying specific infections in the elderly and compromised.
Guidelines also include instructions for employees to wash their hands. Even when wearing gloves, hands should be washed for at least 15 seconds when reporting for work, after touching body fluids or an infected person, before and after eating, after using the bathroom, and before signing off. All protective equipment, from gloves and gowns to reusable and disposable patient care equipment, should be handled and disposed of properly.
Staff must also be educated on the care of patients’ bed linens to prevent spreading organisms found in contaminates. Needles used for patient shots should be disposed of properly.
If residents become infected with an airborne illness like Covid, they should be appropriately isolated and monitored. They should also be masked if transported around the home, such as to the lab for tests. Without a concrete plan for dealing with infections, nursing homes may be liable for a resident’s illness or death. A local nursing home infections attorney could investigate and help pursue a potential claim for negligence.
Nursing home residents are often frail with compromised immune systems due to age. Infections are common in these types of facilities, and although they cannot all be prevented, nursing homes must take precautions to identify and control outbreaks. If they fail to do so, the facility may be found negligent and subject to paying compensation.
You can help protect your loved ones by asking their facility if they have guidelines for handling infections, including recording data when infections are discovered. If a resident suffers harm due to a facility’s negligence, reach out to a lawyer experienced in handling infections in an Atlanta nursing home. A hardworking attorney could help get your loved ones the compensation they deserve for their suffering. Call today for more information.