According to Columbia University, infection rates in nursing homes are increasing. Since a urinary tract infection and similar illnesses are preventable, this suggests that facilities are not doing enough to treat and care for patients. Over a five-year period in the United States, infection rates increased for conditions like viral hepatitis, pneumonia, septicemia and urinary tract infection.
Currently, infections are the number one cause of death for individuals who are in a nursing home. Unless these diseases are prevented and controlled, the problem will only grow worse. With an aging baby boomer population and a longer life expectancy, an influx in nursing home residents also means an influx in infections. Among the most common, preventable infections are pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
The most common problem facing nursing homes is the urinary tract infections. Over the five-year study, the prevalence increased by one percent. This increase can be prevented by performing frequent diaper changes for immobile or incontinent residents. Limiting the use of urinary catheters, increasing assisted trips to the toilet and adequate care can all help to reduce the chances of getting a urinary tract infection.
Ideally, families will research the nursing home that they place their family member into. In addition to looking at the illness rates and current lawsuits, the family should look at the facilities. One of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of infections is through hand washing. The nursing home should have hand-washing stations set up and hand sanitizer dispensers should be located throughout the nursing home. If these simple, life-saving features are not present, then it is a sign that the nursing home is not doing everything that they can to prevent the spread of disease.
Younger, healthier residents may be able to communicate how they feel and any issues. One of the biggest issues is among residents who lack the mobility or communication ability that they once had. These residents may be unable to communicate that they have a urinary tract infection or bedsores. Likewise, these residents may be at the mercy of the staff for trips tot the bathroom or catheter changes. Due to this, the quality of the nursing home’s care is the most important aspect of the facility. Families need to make sure that the nursing home their parent or loved one goes to is able to care for their family member through every stage of illness or hospice care.
If the nursing home is unable or unwilling to do their job, family members have other options. Initially, the resident should be removed from the nursing home and placed in a better facility. The family members can file a report with their local Division of Quality Assurance group to make sure that other families do not go through the same issues. Since most nursing homes are subject to government inspections and reviews, any signs of abuse or neglect should be reported to the government agency in charge.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, 95 percent of nursing home residents report being neglected or witnessing the neglect of someone else within the last year. The alarming rate of neglect has most likely fueled the increase in urinary tract infections within nursing homes. If your loved one has fallen ill or died from a preventable disease, then you have options available. After seeking medical care and a new nursing home, you can get the advice of a qualified attorney. There are legal options available that will help you receive the justice that your loved one deserves.