It is not uncommon for elderly nursing home residents to be in poor health or in need of medical assistance. In some of these situations, an emergency room visit may be essential for that patient. However, an emergency room visit may also lead to infection in the nursing home later on.
An article published by University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine recently explored this phenomenon. According to the article, an ER visit may lead to 3x risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections for nursing home residents. Within the nursing home setting, the rate acute respiratory or GI infections was at 5% within a week of an emergency department visit as opposed to 2% when not the resident did not leave the long-term care facility. After accounting for other variables, residents at such homes were actually 3.9x more likely to acquire an infection following a trip to the emergency department. One researcher is also quoted as saying, "If they acquire an infection while in the emergency department, these residents may be the source of an outbreak upon return to their facility".
All in all, hospital visits from a nursing home lead to high-risk periods for all of the nursing home residents once the sick person returns. New nursing home residents transferred from hospitals may pose an even higher risk for an outbreak of illness within the facility. Applying this knowledge, if someone you know has been recently admitted into a nursing home from a hospital, has recently been to the hospital, or has friends in the nursing home that have just returned from the hospital, it will be crucial to monitor those people for any changing conditions or health issues. If you feel that your loved one needs more care than they are currently being given by the nursing home staff, you may need to discuss changes with the nursing home employees.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a central Pennsylvania lawyer specializing in nursing home abuse and negligence. For more information on his practice, please visit his website.