Punishment Rare for Infection Relapses

Infections are not fun for anyone, and in the elderly, who often suffer from conditions which compromise their immune systems, they can be deadly. Many infections can be prevented through simple hygiene practices, but not all. Preventing relapses of infections in nursing homes is important, but it seems that the ball may have been dropped among the nation’s nursing homes. The LA Times reports on how infection relapses are common, but punishment is rare.

Some of the most important steps in preventing infections in nursing homes seem like common sense. Washing hands, isolating contagious patients, and keeping sick nurses, aides, and other staff at home are just some basic steps. These steps are being routinely ignored in the nation’s nursing homes.

The statistics support the concern. An analysis done by Kaiser Health News over four years of reports shows that 74% of nursing homes have citations for lapses in infection control. This is the most prolific type of violation.

Repeat citations may be common, but the implementation of penalties or fines is rare. Across the country, only 1 of every 75 homes cited received a citation bad enough that a fine was imposed. Most violations, such as an inspection noting that a care professional returned from the bathroom without washing hands and then cared for a resident, are considered low-level violations. The primary cause for this is because it is not seen to pose an immediate risk to the patient.

These infections are almost always preventable, but according to one estimate, healthcare-related infections are responsible for as many as 380,000 deaths per year.

Have you or a loved one been the victim of abuse or neglect while staying in a nursing facility? You may have a case. Call the experienced attorneys at the law offices of Schenk Smith today.