When families entrust the care of their loved ones to nursing homes, they do so with the understanding that caregivers will ensure a safe and healthy environment. However, this is not always the case and now a new study shows that preventable nursing home infections are actually becoming more common in the United States.
The study was presented at an infectious disease conference in Philadelphia by researchers from Columbia University and the Rand Corporation. According to these researchers, infections are a “leading cause of morbidity and mortality in US nursing home (NH) residents with an estimated 1.6 – 3.8 million occurring annually.” Sadly, many of these infections are acquired at the nursing home facilities and may be avoided.
The team relied on data collected quarterly from more than 14,000 nursing homes from 2006 to 2011. They found that the most common nursing home infections, urinary tract infections, only increased minimally during the time period studied. However, the second most common infection acquired in nursing homes, pneumonia, rose 11%.
The nursing home infection which increased most dramatically during the years studied was viral hepatitis, which grew by 48%. A number of other infections became more prevalent, including “superbugs” (drug-resistant infections) which often prove fatal for elderly patients.
The lead study author, Carolyn Herzig, stated in a press release published by Columbia University, “Unless we can improve infection prevention and control in nursing homes, this problem is only going to get worse as baby boomers age and people are able to live longer with increasingly complex, chronic diseases.”
As nursing home abuse and medical malpractice attorneys, we have seen first-hand the effects of poor staff training and inadequate infection control can have on nursing home residents and their families. If your loved one has suffered or even died as a result of an infection contracted in a nursing home, you are entitled to pursue justice. To learn more about nursing home negligence lawsuits, contact us today.