The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are tasked with keeping an eye on health care providers, including nursing homes, for situations that can lead to serious infections. But what you may not know is that the CMS has cracked down on hospitals for high rates of common infections, but has not put similar pressure on nursing homes. Perhaps as a result, 74 percent of nursing homes in the U.S. have been cited for infection-control violations.
Some of the citations mean that lapses leading to severe infections can cause untold misery, re-admittance to a hospital, and even death. Repeat citations occur frequently, with fines and other disciplinary actions rare. Often, low-level citations are handed out when a more stringent citation would be called for. As Michael Connors of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a San Francisco nonprofit, noted, “The facilities are getting the message that they don’t have to do anything. [CMS inspectors are] giving them low-level warnings year after year after year and the facilities have learned to ignore them.”
It’s a medical fact that common infections in nursing homes are largely avoidable. Such infections are responsible for one-fourth of the medical injuries that happen to Medicare residents of nursing homes.
A generation ago, the average hospital stay was 7.3 days (1980). In 2012, stays had shortened to 4.5 days. Extra time in the hospital decades ago meant that patients could more fully recuperate before going home. These days, patients are released to nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities to finish recuperating. The patients sometimes have surgical wounds that have not closed, or they are in weaker condition and thus more susceptible to infections. They often require ventilators and other medical equipment such as urinary catheters that can create healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs).
Staff are also often strongly discouraged from calling in sick. When sick staff attend nursing home residents, those with weakened immune systems end up exposed to illnesses that, while mild for a healthier person, could cause severe illness in a frail and ill elderly person.
Combine all of these factors with lax oversight from the CMS, and it’s a wonder that more nursing home residents are not dying from infections.
Are you ready to learn about the most common infections that plague nursing home residents? Each of these five infections has their own unique and dubious distinction:
All of these infections, under certain conditions, can be traced back to negligent care on the part of the nursing home and its staff. When serious injury or death occurs as a result of an infection, a legal case can sometimes be brought. Determining negligence in nursing home cases can mean many hours spent interviewing doctors and expert witnesses and reviewing all medical records in depth. You are best served by securing an experienced and compassionate attorney to help you sort things out if your loved one has suffered or died from a nursing home infection.
When someone you love has been hurt, it can feel like nothing will ever be right or fair again. When this happens, the nursing home injury lawyers at the Louthian Law Firm can review your legal options and work with you to determine the most appropriate next step.
Many South Carolina assisted living facilities and nursing homes are part of a larger chain, complete with their own legal department. The nursing home’s lawyers may try to dispute abuse and negligence claims, but we have successfully represented nursing home victims. We understand how to deal with negligent facilities and the nursing home attorneys who represent them. While a lawsuit cannot restore someone’s health, a claim can help recover the large sums spent on a negligent or abusive nursing home, as well as the medical bills created by that abuse or negligence. You may also be able to hold them accountable for the pain and suffering they caused.