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MRSA Infections on the Rise in Nursing Homes

It goes without saying that seniors in nursing home have general vulnerabilities that make them more susceptible than the general public to long-term harm from certain medical risks. One of the most obvious example of this are infections. While healthy adults have stronger bodies and immune systems which are capable of fighting off many bodily invaders–seniors might not. That is why it is critical for caregivers and administrators at these homes do everything in their power to minimize the risk of infection spreading at these facilities. It is not an overstatement to say that lives literally hang in the balance.

In fact, according to a Medical News story one deadly infection is on the rise in nursing facilities: MRSA. More specifically, the article points to new studies which find that more needs to be done to control the spread of community-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA). Hospitals are usually the focus of efforts to properly minimize MRSA spreading. But according to research published in the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America known as Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, nursing homes may be just as risky. As part of the effort, the researchers visited 22 different nursing homes over a several year period. Surprisingly, nearly 25% of residents examined shows traces of CA-MRSA.

The researchers point out that these drug-resistant strains are incredibly harmful and often lead to many different invasive diseases. Senior residents who develop this CA-MRSA while at the facility may be prone to develop abscesses, pneumonia, and infections of the bloodstream. There are many different infection control practices which should be instituted at these facilities in order to minimize the spread and subsequent harm. That is particularly important, because nursing home residents are uniquely positioned to develop the infection. The article authors explain: “Nursing home residents also have increased risk factors for MRSA, including diabetes, long-term use of indwelling devices, and inability to perform activities of daily living.”

The researchers who studied the issue argued that there may be a connection between hospital MRSA rates and nursing home rates. That is because many nursing home residents are admitted into the skilled nursing facility directly from the hospital. The strain can easily be carried from one setting to another.

Our Chicago elder abuse lawyers urge all local families to be very careful when monitoring a loved one’s condition at these facilities. Timing is often important when it comes to properly treating these complications, and so it is helpful to share any concerns with caregivers and medical professionals.

Unfortunately, it often takes aggressive action on the part of families and friends to ensure that nursing home residents receive the full care to which they are entitled. It is dangerous to assume that caregivers will identify all problems before others. There are many cases of family members who notice problems during a visit and are shocked to discover that caregivers failed to notice it earlier. The bottom line: do not let concerns about the care that a resident is receiving go unvoiced. Share your concerns and demand changes.

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Critiques of Elder Abuse Suspicions