Even before the beginning of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic, nursing home residents were more vulnerable to getting an infection. Older adults living in a community setting are more susceptible to infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), urinary tract infections (UTI), or Clostridium difficile (C-diff).
Now with the COVID-19 pandemic proving to be much more dangerous for seniors and others with underlying medical conditions, it is especially important to understand how infections spread so quickly in skilled nursing settings.
Infection Control Mistakes
Staff members who work in nursing homes are trained on infection control best practices, like handwashing and personal protective equipment. However, it only takes one mistake for a bacteria or virus to spread from one person to another. Common mistakes could include cross-contamination while preparing food, not taking off gloves correctly, and not disposing of personal protective equipment safely.
Seniors can present with unusual symptoms that are not necessarily common indicators of infection. For example, a urinary tract infection often causes painful or frequent urination. In seniors, however, urinary tract infections cause acute, or sudden, confusion and disorientation.
Staff members need to pay close attention to unusual or new symptoms and follow the clues to determine if there is an infection. Unfortunately, team members can sometimes take too long to run a test for an infection. In cases of contagious infections, this is especially harmful as the infected person could be spreading the disease to others without knowing it.
Seniors with contagious diseases are put in isolation to decrease contaminating others. While this is certainly good protocol, isolated seniors can quickly become depressed and lonely without the proper supports in place. Further, seniors with dementia who are also in isolation can experience more rapid cognitive decline.
If your loved one is in a nursing home setting and has had multiple infections since living there, you may feel worried or unsure of their care. Fortunately, the team at Grewer Law has extensive experience in the health care field which gives us the leverage of knowing how to best interpret medical charts.
Call us today to tell us more about your concerns. We can help you determine if you could have a case and then advocate for your loved one’s best interests.