Preventing Sepsis and Infections in in Nursing Homes Saves Lives

According to the Mayo Clinic, sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection. Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight an infection triggers inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.

With over 934,000 occurrences of septic shock each year, sepsis in a nursing home setting is a serious risk for elderly patients. Sepsis and bed sores go hand in hand in a nursing home. Like any infection, sepsis, once discovered, should be treated immediately to give the patient the best chance of recovery.

Bed sores are caused by a lack of circulation when patients are left in the same position for long periods of time. Bedsores can develop quickly when nursing homes fail to turn and reposition elderly residents who are immobile or lack the capacity to move and reposition their own body.

Failure to turn and reposition frail and elderly nursing home residents who can't or won't move on their own will lead to disastrous consequences. Over time, tissue begins to degrade at the cellular level due to a lack of oxygen and when the tissue dies, it creates an open wound that is extremely painful and highly inviting of bacterial infections that only serve to make the situation worse. Most bedsores are easily preventable. It is unacceptable for bedsores to go unnoticed at a care facility until their late stages cause permanent damage.

As soon as a caregiver suspects the possibility of sepsis in an elderly patient, the clock begins to tick and treatment in the form of antibiotics must be administered quickly. With septic shock, studies have shown that the mortality rates rose when the infections weren't addressed sooner and fell when they were addressed immediately. It is not surprising that many cases of sepsis in nursing homes are not detected early enough because of neglected and ignored bed sores.

Sepsis is a serious medical condition that has a high rate of complication and death. Preventing bed sores is key to lowering the rates of sepsis. By finding bed sores in their earlier stages, patient's lives may be saved.

Other ways to improve this time in a patient's life is through better facilities, surroundings and care. Proper care, such as moving a patient into another position if he or she has remained still for over two hours, or allowing and encouraging patients to take walks in order to help circulation and reduce the amount of time they are confined to a bed in one position may help to keep these infections at bay.

If your loved one developed a bed sore, pressure sore or decubitus ulcer at a nursing home, there is a good chance that the negligence of the nursing home may have contributed to the problem. When a facility was negligent, the individual or family may be entitled to bring a lawsuit against the facility for the ulcers. Rich Hitz at Carlson & Burnett, LLP can counsel you and your family and help you fight for justice. Contact Rich at 402-952-4179 to set up a free consultation.

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