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Healthcare-Associated Infections Threaten Elderly Residents in Nursing Homes

All elderly individuals residing in nursing homes are highly susceptible to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), a significant cause of fatalities and needless suffering. Common healthcare-associated infections include urinary tract infections, skin infections such as pressure ulcers, pneumonia, influenza, scabies, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These infections are known as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) because they are typically acquired by patients who are receiving treatment for an initial ailment while at a healthcare setting, such as a nursing home, urgent care center, or hospital.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in every 20 hospitalized patients will acquire a healthcare-associated infection during their stay. These patients, particularly those who are elderly, are already in a much weakened clinical condition. Therefore, they are at a higher risk of contracting an HAI resulting in complications and even death. Thus, it is extremely important that these patients receive high-quality and safe care within these facilities. Caretakers must be aware of an elderly patient’s susceptibility to HAIs and therefore should take preventative measures to protect against them.

Generally, when an HAI is detected, the cause of the infection must be identified by healthcare providers. After, they will need to assess which antibiotic treatment, duration, and dosage will be proper in an individual patient’s case. However, caretakers should not rely on antibiotics to fix the problem. Rather, they should first implement preventative practices to avoid the infection from arising in the first place, as many of these infections are preventable.

It is imperative that caretakers wash their hands, use gloves, and sterilize equipment that is reused in order to prevent the transmission of infections between patients. HAIs may be contracted because there may be sick individuals with infectious diseases within their proximity. Therefore, caretakers must ensure that they exercise precautions to prevent the spread of infection by washing their hands and equipment thoroughly if they previously tended to a patient who had an infection prior to tending to another patient. Additionally, patients who have undergone invasive procedures may be susceptible to infection at the site where the invasive instrument or procedure was performed. Therefore, caretakers should be particularly cautious with such patients, and must wash their hands, wear gloves, and ensure sterile instruments are used when breaking the skin of a patient while giving an injection, suture, IV, or when inserting urinary catheters.

It should be noted that not all HAIs will result in death. However, acquiring an HAI will cause a patient to become more ill because their initial ailment will be compounded by the acquired HAI. Therefore, when a patient acquires an HAI, they will require longer stays and more treatment, thus resulting in increased costs for the patient as well. Additionally, even if a patient were to recover, they may still suffer from complications resulting from the effects of the infection.

At the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi, we believe that your loved one deserves to receive the highest quality care. Therefore, caretakers in such facilities must implement preventative practices to protect your loved one from HAIs. When you place your loved one in a nursing home, you trust that the nursing home will take responsibility for your loved one’s health and well-being. Should the facility breach its duties to you and your loved one in any way, we insist that they must be held accountable for their actions. This is why our team of experienced litigators are passionate about protecting the rights of victims of nursing home neglect and elder abuse. We are located in both Northern California and Southern California and serve cities throughout the state. Contact us today at (888) 606-3453 for a free consultation.