In general, hospitals and nursing homes are places that are susceptible to outbreaks of disease and illness. Due to the close quarters in which the residents or patients live, the spread of disease is common-even in seemingly sterile or controlled environments. It does not help that workers in nursing homes and hospitals at often overworked and lack the appropriate support staff. This can also lead to easier disease spread, since workers are attending to many patients on the same shift, both sick and healthy.
Last month, the results of a Pennsylvania report were released, which targeted illnesses and outbreaks in nursing homes. According to the statistics within the report, PA saw an increase of 6% for reported respiratory tract infections (including pneumonia) and an increase of 28% for influenza-like illnesses from 2010 to 2011. The committee responsible for this report noted that, when workers had mandatory vaccines for these illnesses, the percentage of sick residents decreased significantly. Additionally, mandatory staff safety training and basic hygiene practices for workers to utilize for themselves and their patients also decreased the spread of illnesses.
Nursing home-related deaths due to illness are not insignificant, especially when given the fact that the elderly have weakened immune symptoms. If you feel that a loved one in a nursing home has an unaddressed or worsening illness, it is important to seek medical assistance immediately. If you feel that the nursing home has neglected your loved one, it may be time to seek legal assistance.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury attorney specializing in nursing home abuse, as well as automobile accidents. For more information on him and his firm, please visit our website or call us at (814) 946-4100.