Header graphic for print
Nursing Homes Abuse Blog By Jonathan Rosenfeld

Infections In Nursing Homes

bacterial infectionsThere are a number of different risk factors that explain why nursing home residents are prone to infection. Underlying chronic diseases, weakened immune systems, and the fact that it has a large number of people live in a single space are all reasons that nursing homes can pose problems. Patients may also take medications or suffer from chronic conditions that make them prone to infection. Finally, certain residents have mobility and/or cognitive issues that would prevent them from taking care of their own personal hygiene adequately. Without the right staff training, chances are that infections could continue to develop and spread.

What are the common infections to be aware of?

There are a number of infections that are likely to occur with the elderly who live in nursing homes. While these are certainly not limited to nursing homes or elderly citizens, they are some of the more common:

  • Influenza – Between the months of October and March, seasonal influenza typically causes problems in nursing homes. In order to avoid complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia and lessen the usual problems with the flu it is recommended that patients take the seasonal influenza vaccines. Influenza can spread through coughing and sneezing. However, it may also spread from environmental surfaces and hands that are contaminated with the organisms, again demonstrating the necessity of proper hygiene for staff members.
  • Gastroenteritis – Gastroenteritis may develop because of viral and bacterial organisms. This leads to the inflammation of the intestines and stomach. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. It is possible to contract the disease because of bacterial food contamination, including campylobacter, shigella, and salmonella bacteria. However, the most common form in nursing homes is the result of Noro Viruses. Not only are these extremely contagious, but it is also important that staff members properly monitor already weakened patients for serious complications such as diarrhea and vomiting, both of which can lead to dehydration.
  • Multi-drug Resistant Organisms – Examples include vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE) and methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It is possible for MRSA to cause respiratory, urinary tract, wound, and skin infections. VRE is often located in the intestinal tract. It is possible for both these antibiotic resistant strains to transfer from patient to patient if the healthcare worker does not take steps to ensure proper hygiene.

There are no excuses for negligence

There is no denying that older patients are likely to be more frail and prone to infection than younger, healthier individuals. However, this makes it even more important for staff members at nursing homes to adhere to infection prevention standards. Unusual, widespread, and repeated infections may signal that the nursing home staff is negligent in its duty. While an infection is not always preventable, it is the responsibility of the nursing home staff to manage and contain an infection.

If you feel that the nursing home or long-term care facility that you or someone you care about is enrolled in does not take adequate measures to prevent or contain infection, it is important that you speak out and make your voice heard. While your case may be an isolated incident, remember that by speaking out, you may be preventing harm coming to others.


Subscribe to Infections In Nursing Homes RSS Feed

Innocent Mistake? Or Was Nursing Home’s Delay In Notifying Health Department Of Norovirus Outbreak Intentional?

Posted in Food Poisoning, Infections In Nursing Homes

As many as 80 patients and staff at a California Nursing Home have become ill due to an outbreak of norovirus at their facility.  The first symptoms of illnesses related to norovirus were first reported on November 6th at Country Villa Healthcare Center in Novato, CA. Several of the patients became so ill that they… Continue Reading

Nursing Homes Poorly Controlling Infections Amongst Patients

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes

A report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report concluded that nursing homes need to do a better job when it comes to implementing infection control programs at their facilities.  After studying a group of patients at a Pennsylvania nursing home requiring specialized neurologic and pulmonary care, it… Continue Reading

Study Reveals Reduction In Infection Rate By Giving Patients Private Rooms

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes

A study by McGill University researchers that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that a private room in a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) can decrease the chances of contracting an infection.   The study compared rates of infection in an ICU before and after the hospital changed from… Continue Reading

Study Demonstrates Correlation Between Under-Staffing & Incidence Of Infections In Nursing Homes

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes

Amongst the first of its kind, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh set forth to determine what factors make nursing home patients susceptible to infections.  The team of researchers evaluated Medicare and Medicaid data from 16,000 from 2000 through 2007 and determined that the biggest predictor of infection was the staffing levels at the facility…. Continue Reading

Scabies Outbreak At Maine Nursing Home

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes

Staff at Brewer Rehab and Living Center, a Maine nursing home, have been afflicted with an outbreak of scabies.  The outbreak was reported to the Maine Center for Disease Prevention where officials rendered advice on treat patients and staff with the mite. Scabies is a very small mite that causes allergic reaction-type problems when it… Continue Reading

Nursing Homes Remain Ideal Breeding Grounds For Strains Of MRSA Infections

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is an infection that is caused by a strain of staph bacteria that is resistant to the antibiotics typically used to combat staph infections.  HA-MRSA or health care-associated MRSA affects people who are or have been in hospitals, nursing homes, dialysis centers, or other health care settings, especially those who have… Continue Reading

Norovirus Infiltrates Illinois Nursing Homes

Posted in Abuse In Chicago Nursing Homes & Other Communities Within Illinois, Infections In Nursing Homes

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that 129 nursing home patients have been diagnosed with norovirus at three un-named nursing homes in McHenry County. As authorities from the Illinois Department of Health investigate this norovirus outbreak, six patients have already been hospitalized for this illness. Norovirus is an illnesses that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some… Continue Reading

Hepatitis Blamed For The Death Of Four Residents At Assisted Living Facility

Posted in Assisted Living Facilities, Infections In Nursing Homes

A Hepatitis B outbreak at Glen Care of Mount Olive (North Carolina), an assisted living facility, has claimed the lives of four elderly residents.  Another younger patient, still remains hospitalized for medical complications related to hepatitis B. As officials from the department of health look into how these assisted living residents contracted this strain of… Continue Reading

Failure To Properly Treat Surgical Wounds Results In Settlement Of Wrongful Death Case With Nursing Home

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes, Wrongful Death

The Chicago Tribune reported on a story involving the $2 million settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit involving a patient at a Wisconsin nursing home who suffered complications from improperly cared for surgical wounds.  The patient identified as Cynthia Wilms, was admitted to Willows Nursing and Rehabilitation in 2007 following a hip replacement surgery.  According… Continue Reading

Medical Facilities Can Reduce The Incidence Of Infection By Taking Some Basic Precautionary Steps

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes

  When a family member or loved one goes to the hospital for medical treatment, we expect them to get better, not worse. However, hospital infections are a very real and very dangerous problem. Illinois recently published information showing infection rates at Illinois hospitals in an attempt to increase transparency about safety and also hold medical institutions… Continue Reading

MRSA In Nursing Homes On The Rise Amongst Residents & Staff

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes

An English study evaluating the prevalence of MRSA (MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in nursing homes has revealed residents and staff are at risk for contracting the bacteria. The sampling 1,111 residents and 553 staff in 45 nursing homes revealed 24% of residents and 7% of the staff were MRSA carriers. According to Dr…. Continue Reading

Nursing Home Owner Leave Resident On Bedpan for 24-Hours, Now Faces Jail Time

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes, Neglect

A case case of horrific nursing home neglect (perhaps more accurately nursing home abuse) has been reported in New Mexico.  The owner of an Albuquerque Nursing Home, has been found guilty of in the death of resident who was left sitting on top of a bedpan for more than 24-hours.  The incident occurred on Christmas… Continue Reading

Never Event #2: Infection In Central Venous Catheters

Posted in Infections In Nursing Homes, Medication Errors, Neglect

 The second most frequently encountered ‘never event‘ is an infection from a central venous catheter.  Infections due to improperly maintained and inplanted central venous catheters accounted for 29,536 cases in hospitals in 2007.  A central venous catheter is a tube usually inserted in an arm or chest and threaded through a vein until it reaches… Continue Reading

Man Loses Testicle In Belleville Nursing Home

Posted in Abuse In Chicago Nursing Homes & Other Communities Within Illinois, Infections In Nursing Homes, Litigation

A lawsuit was recently filed against Calvin Johnson Care Center in Belleville, Illinois.  The lawsuit claims that while Fred Moss was admitted to the facility for long-term nursing and rehabilitation, the facility failed to supervise him and was neglectful in their treatment.  As a result of the nursing home neglect, Mr. Moss contracted cellulitis and… Continue Reading

Sepsis

Posted in Bed Sores, Pressure Sores, Decubitus Ulcers & Pressure Ulcers, Common Terms, Infections In Nursing Homes

‘Sepsis’ is a bacterial infection in the bloodstream or body tissues commonly found in people with advanced bed sores (also referred to as pressure ulcer, decubitus ulcer or pressure ulcer).  In order to make a diagnosis of sepsis, at least two of the following must occur: a heart rate above 90 beats per minute, hyperventilation… Continue Reading

Nursing Homes Abuse Blog