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Life-threatening infections could mean nursing home neglect

The miracles of modern medicine help many Pennsylvania residents live longer than at any other time in the state's history. As a result, a larger number of the population ends up needing long-term care from their families, assisted living centers or nursing homes. This means that the potential for nursing home neglect may only continue to rise as well, and it may come from a variety of sources.

One threat to the lives of nursing home residents comes from infections. Estimates place the number of people who die each year in long-term care facilities from infections at approximately 500,000. The types of infections found in these facilities present a danger to healthy individuals, let alone the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Under those circumstances, they can be deadly.

For instance, one infection prevalent in many hospitals and long-term care facilities is MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which is a staph infection that tends to resist many antibiotics. Undergoing a course of antibiotics can also put elderly patients at risk for CD (clostridium difficile), which is a diarrheal infection that presents a challenge to treat and can quickly turn deadly. Urinary tract infections are also common in these facilities and sometimes lead to death.

Nursing homes are required to follow certain sanitation practices in order to prevent infections, but when those practices are not followed for whatever reason, it could indicate nursing home neglect. Families who lose loved ones to an infection may consider discussing the matter with a Pennsylvania attorney. An investigation into the matter could reveal that legal action may be appropriate.

Source:, "500,000 People Die Every Year from Infections Caught in Long-Term Care Facilities", Cynthia Wallentine, July 13, 2017

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