Widespread Sepsis Infections Are Killing Nursing Home Residents

A new federal report discovered that sepsis infections – which can often be avoided with proper sanitation and medical care – are killing thousands of elderly placed in nursing homes. According to this report, nursing homes do not always perform due diligence to prevent bedsores and other injuries from becoming septic, and ultimately, this results in thousands of additional deaths per year. While experts are unsure of the exact reason for this growing problem, if the results of this latest report are accurate, then it suggests that continuing short staffing is resulting in the untimely and unnecessary deaths of our most vulnerable citizens. But how exactly has this dangerous sepsis epidemic emerged, and how can you hold nursing home attendants accountable if your loved one has been hurt? Our nursing home abuse attorneys at Hare Wynn discuss in this post.

What Is Sepsis, and Why Is It So Dangerous to the Elderly?

Sepsis infections are dangerous to both young and old, and the CDC estimates over 250,000 Americans are killed by sepsis each year. Sepsis (also known as septicemia) occurs when bacterial infections enter the blood stream, usually as a result of prior infection. It can usually be addressed if the infection is recognized and a nursing home resident is transported to a hospital where physicians can act quickly.

Unfortunately, for the elderly, an untreated case of sepsis is often a death sentence. Once an individual has reached 60, the best way to prevent sepsis from becoming fatal is to avoid contracting a major infection. While the latest report has shed light on the rampant problem of sepsis in nursing homes, it’s also far from a new one: In one scholarly analysis published in 2013, researchers discovered the elderly were 5 times more likely to experience severe sepsis infection than younger adults, and that being in a nursing home multiplied the effect by an additional factor of 7. This means nursing home residents are 14% more likely to contract serious sepsis than non-nursing home residents.

Why Has Sepsis Infection Spread In Nursing Homes?

There are many possible reasons for the growing problem of sepsis in nursing homes, but ultimately it is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause for the crisis, as most of these cases are settled privately.

Some of the possible reasons for increased risk of sepsis in nursing homes include:

  • Failure to address small infections. Some of the most common afflictions nursing home residents face include bed sores, urinary tract infections, and infections from catheters and IVs. These ailments may seem minor, but once the infection reaches the blood stream, it is only a matter of time until sepsis develops. That’s why it’s crucial for nursing home attendants to regularly check on residents, and actively scan for signs of infection.
  • Poor hygiene practices in nursing homes. Despite the standards nursing homes are legally required to meet, some fail to meet the high standards of hospital care, even when they claim to observe them. Leaving bedpans out, failing to change IV tubes, or leaving clothes soiled can all lead to infection.

Holding Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable

At Hare Wynn, we believe the elderly are entitled to quality nursing home care. So when an elderly person is injured in a nursing home, it represents the worst violation of justice. For the last 125 years, we’ve fought for our client’s rights in an array of complex litigation cases, by standing up to negligent organizations and companies. In the process, we’ve secured millions of dollars in damages, helping to ease some of the pain and suffering our clients have experienced. If you choose to work with Hare Wynn, rest assured that we will fight for the maximum recovery owed to you and your family.

If your family member or elderly loved one has suffered a sepsis injury, contact us at (855) 997-9319 for a free initial case review. We are ready to help you fight for your rights.

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