Nursing home abuse

The Importance of Quality Nursing Home Care During an Outbreak

March 31, 2020 by Carrie Capouellez
Abused nursing home patient

Many specialized elderly care centers across the country are facing the crisis of controlling and caring for patients amidst an outbreak. One nursing home recorded 21 patients within its facility had contracted the COVID-19 virus, including two positive cases among caregivers. The novel coronavirus pandemic raises the question of how long term care facilities treat patients during an infectious outbreak.

Appropriate Measures

Nursing homes and extended care facilities are similar to hospitals in that they care for vulnerable patients who are more susceptible to infections and viruses due to weakened immune systems and/or preexisting or underlying health conditions. Given the average patient’s overall health and the dense environment of a nursing home facility, taking measures to protect and care for patients during an outbreak is crucial. Infectious bacteria and viruses are common in nursing home facilities; however, by practicing proper sanitation and hygiene, the overall impact could be diminished which would save patients’ lives.

Appropriate nursing home quality measures include routine safety and hygienic training for staff in addition to a routine deep cleaning of the facility, including air ducts and air filters that when left unmaintained could spread bacteria. Changing patients’ bed linens, clothing, and sanitary napkins or diapers contribute to providing a clean and comfortable environment for patients. Additionally, staff should always practice personal hygiene before and after interacting with each patient.

Nursing homes and long term care facilities should provide patients with daily oral hygiene, and the routine cleaning and changing of susceptible medical equipment such as catheters. Neglecting medical equipment patients use increases the risk of infection and further pain and illness.

Common Infections

Nursing home facilities should take additional action for both patients and staff during outbreaks to minimize the impact of infection. An estimated two million reported cases of infection occur at nursing homes across the country annually, on average. The most common infections in a nursing home or long-term care facility include:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Soft-tissue infections
  • Skin infections
  • Influenza
  • Gastroenteritis

Respiratory infections and gastroenteritis are the most deadly among patients. Nursing home residents account for nearly 10 to 18% percent of the individuals hospitalized for pneumonia, Poor oral hygiene is just one reason for the overwhelming number of pneumonia cases in nursing homes. Dental plaque builds up and increases bacteria that can spread pneumonia. A study reported by the Nursing Home Abuse Center found nearly 58% of all nursing home patients reported having poor dental hygiene care. Understaffing contributes to this problem in nursing homes and long-term care centers.

Inadequate Care

Unfortunately, nursing homes across the country are historically understaffed, leading to a variety of severe problems for patients and their loved ones. Nursing home facilities that are unable to provide adequate and quality care to patients put the lives of those in their care at risk. A lack of staff means patients receive less one-on-one care, and less total overall care. This is crucial in caring for high-risk and vulnerable patients, especially those who cannot care for themselves by brushing their teeth, showering, or using the restroom. When these basic routines are neglected, patients are at a greater risk for contracting infections and for not receiving proper care in time to treat an illness.

Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

Families trust nursing homes and long-term care facilities will give their loved ones quality medical care. Sadly, however, the most vulnerable among us are taken advantage of due to their inability to speak out against neglect and abuse. If you suspect a loved one is an injury victim of nursing home abuse, contact us today for a free case consultation.

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