Nursing home facilities are breeding grounds for infectious diseases caused by lack of hygiene, which causes germs to spread and affect patients. This is often due to poor management. It is estimated that 380,000 patients may pass away each year due to infections contracted in these facilities. That said, infections represent a serious threat to nursing home residents. Preventing infection should be a basic part of any nursing home. In order to prevent infection in nursing homes, the facility needs to be properly staffed and trained.
There are many things to consider in a nursing home in order to keep infections at bay. Elderly people require proper care and hygiene, and most cannot take care of themselves. The spread of germs, viruses, and bacteria can cause medical conditions in the patients to worsen which increases the probability of contracting an infection. Since elderly patients tend to have compromised immune systems, living in enclosed facilities can encourage the spread of infection.
Influenza was the cause of 1 in 6 deaths among the elderly in the year 1997. From that group, those who were 65 years or older accounted for 90% of these deaths. When there is a spread of the influenza virus in a nursing home, roughly 20 to 30% of the residents get hit and, during these outbreaks, as many as 5% of those living in the facility may die. One of the preventive measures nursing homes take is the vaccination of the population.
Immunization through vaccines can help prevent or limit influenza throughout the nursing home. It is also important to vaccinate staff members, including everyone inside the facility such as nurses, caregivers, administrative staff, food prep staff, etc. This will help in avoiding the spread of the influenza virus from staff member to residents and vice versa.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are commonplace in nursing homes. They are one of the most common infections that happen in the elderly. Urinary tract infections also affect the patients’ kidneys and bladder. The older the patient, the more prone to infection he will be. Lack of cleanliness and a patient staying in the same position for an extended period of time can also encourage infection.
Patients who require catheters need to be cared for properly to avoid contracting a UTI due to an improper insertion of a catheter. Proper hygiene is also crucial when it comes to preventing urinary tract infections.
Scabies is another common infection among the elderly. It’s a skin infection from the sarcoptes scabiei hominis mite. Scabies is common in enclosed areas and can spread to many people within the same facility. Nursing homes normally have to deal with what’s known as “crusted scabies”. Proper hygiene is, again, critical to prevent scabies and any other type of infection spreading throughout the nursing home. Both residents and staff members may contract scabies and infect others.
Elderly residents in a nursing home are vulnerable to infections due to their progressively weakened immune system. It is important to note, however, that some nursing homes may not be doing their job right at keeping their facility clean and free from dreadful germs, bacteria, and viruses that may spread throughout their population and cause many awful infections to the patients within the facility.
Also, the nursing home staff might not be monitoring nor following standards to properly treat those patients who have already contracted infections. If a family member of a nursing home resident suspects that the nursing home is responsible for the passing of a loved one, a lawsuit with a trained attorney might be necessary.