Infection and Infection Control

Signs or Symptoms of Abuse or Neglect

Infection and Infection Control

Nursing home and hospital patients are at higher risk for infections. These facilities are required to implement infection control practices. Under federal regulations which set minimum standards of care for long term care facilities, every facility must establish and maintain an infection control program designed to provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment and to help prevent the development and transmission of disease and infection.”

42 C.F.R. § 483.65 The provider must establish an infection control program which investigates, controls and prevents infections in the facility. Id. Such a program may include isolation of residents. “The facility must prohibit an employee with communicable disease or infected skin lesions from direct contact with residents or their food, if direct contact will transmit the disease.” Id.

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to many of the antibiotics such as penicillin used to treat ordinary staph infections, according to the CDC.  MRSA starts out generally as swollen, painful red bumps that might resemble pimples or spider bites. MRSA can cause severe problems such as bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and surgical site infections. Approximately 5% of patients in U.S. hospitals carry MRSA in their nose or on their skin.

Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection and is a life-threatening medical emergency. It occurs when an infection already in the body – skin, lungs, urinary tract – triggers a chain reaction or becomes a systematic infection. Sepsis can be cause by several sources including open wounds, including viral contaminations (like Covid-19), pneumonia or influenza. People 65 and over with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney disease and weakened immune systems are most at risk. General signs or symptoms include elevated heart rate, low blood pressure, fever, shivering or feeling cold, confusion or disorientation, shortness of breath, extreme pain or discomfort, and clammy or sweaty skin.

If you have a loved one who has contracted sepsis or other serious infection in a facility, you should contact an experienced lawyer to evaluate whether you have a potential claim against the nursing home. Contact the Law Office of Jeffrey J. Downey for a free consultation.