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Common nursing home infections

A 2004 National Nursing Home Survey found that nearly 1.5 million elderly Americans live in about 16,000 nursing homes. With crowded nursing homes comes an increased potential of harmful infections spreading. Because the elderly generally have diminished immune systems and because surgery can sometimes cause more harm than good, the spread of an infection could be disastrous in a nursing home. This article outlines the most common infections found in nursing homes and the ways to prevent and treat them.

Often, residents who are moved from one home to another or who were just transferred from a hospital are carriers of diseases unknown to their new nursing home. The most common nursing home infections are:

  • Respiratory infections like pneumonia and influenza
    • Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in nursing home residents, with residents using feeding tubes being at the highest risk of developing it. Elderly patients may manifest symptoms of pneumonia differently than younger patients, so blood tests and x-rays should definitively diagnose it.
  • Soft-tissue and skin infections
    • Infected pressure ulcers, vascular ulcers, and diabetic wound infections are common in nursing home residents, as well as less severe conditions such as skin dryness, redness, and peeling. Pressure ulcers, or bedsores, are unfortunately common in patients who are confined to a bed or wheelchair.
  • Gastroenteritis
    • Norovirus causes dehydration and diarrhea in nursing home patients, which could be fatal if it goes untreated. It can be passed from person to person and through food and water, making it difficult to detect an origin and to prevent it.
  • Urinary tract infections
    • UTIs are incredibly common in nursing home residents with indwelling catheters. The risk of developing a UTI increases each day the catheter remains inserted. Within a month, it is likely that there will be bacteria in the patient’s urine.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If your loved one has developed an infection due to neglect in a nursing home, contact an attorney right away. The New York nursing home abuse attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to investigate and help put an immediate end to this neglect and dangerous mistreatment. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 or reach out online to schedule your free consultation today.


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