The Department of Health & Human Services estimates that 380,000 people die each year due to infection-related complications. Many of these deaths happen in nursing homes where lapses in infection control have become a norm. Simple steps to prevent infections, such as hand-washing, isolating sick patients, and preventing sick employees from coming to work are being ignored across America’s nursing homes.
The Chicago Sun Times reported that four years of inspection records show 74% of nursing homes were cited for failing to meet infection control standards.
This investigation revealed that while repeat citations are being commonly issued for infection control violations, disciplinary actions against nursing homes, such as fines, are rare. Nationwide, only 1 in 75 nursing homes that was found deficient for infection control in these four years has received a high-level citation that results in a financial penalty.
Infections, many avoidable, cause a quarter of the medical injuries Medicare beneficiaries experience in nursing homes, according to The Department of Health & Human Services’ report. Infections are also among the most frequent reasons residents are sent back again to the hospital.
While the deaths from infection-related complications grow, the nursing home industry is getting the message that they don’t need to act. Low-level warnings given year after year are falling on deaf ears. Nursing homes need to hire adequate staff, properly train staff about infection control, and provide sufficient paid sick leave to staff to encourage them to stay home when they are sick. While these changes are easy to implement, they will not happen unless The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees nursing home inspections, recognizes that nursing homes need accountability.
While it may take some time for CMS to update their regulations for nursing homes, don’t feel that you or your family member is alone. If you or a loved one was injured due to an infection caused in a nursing home, you are entitled to justice and fair compensation for the harm caused. The Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys of the Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. have over 50 years of combined experience in taking on some of the largest corporate-chain nursing homes. With a reputation for tough litigation and verdicts and settlements in the millions of dollars for our clients, we understand the tactics nursing homes use to protect their bottom lines. Contact us for a free initial consultation. Call 1 (312) 384-1920 or 1 (800) 693-1LAW, or reach us by email.