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How severe is risk of infection in nursing homes?

There are inherent risks to putting the care of loved ones under the responsibility of a nursing home or assisted care facility. While most nursing homes and staff practice the utmost in care, occasionally, care is not appropriate or even unlawful, and it results in injury. Most people would be right in thinking about falls or medication errors in connections with nursing home resident injury. However, another issue is the incidences of infections contracted in nursing home facilities that could qualify for nursing home abuse or neglect.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 1-3 million infections occur every year in long-term care facilities. Since disease is infectious, some of the spread of these diseases is unpreventable. However, some diseases spread through nursing homes and other long term care facilities could be prevented if not for unsanitary medical equipment or living conditions. It can be easier to determine the spread of disease if it is a rare type of infection.

Since assisted care facilities, be definition, care for multiple people with a variance in medical conditions within a combined space, it is crucial that they maintain sterile and safe equipment and living conditions in which the patients and residents live. Failure to do this could result in an accusation of carelessness, or negligence in connection with a patient's illness or injury. If multiple patients come down with a rare infection, it could be due to a nursing home's inability to clean or maintain their equipment or facilities. Care facilities are held to a high standard under state and federal law.

These infections that residents endure in long term care facilities result in as many as 380,000 nursing home deaths each year. While not all of these deaths are preventable or due to a negligent act, some are. For those families, they want answers for their loved ones deaths.

Source: cdc.gov, "Nursing homes and assisted living (Long term care facilities [LTCF's]), Accessed November 7, 2016

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