CHICAGO, IL – There are very few medical conditions that are more life-threatening to the lives and well-being of the elderly than infections and sepsis. The elderly are the most vulnerable to develop infections, such as sepsis, while simultaneously being the less capable to fight off infections, which can be catastrophic and even deadly for this population.
Infections can be unavoidable, and when they are, it can be terrifying. Infections, and sepsis, in particular, can be very painful and attack a person’s entire body. Health care providers know how deadly an infection like sepsis can be for the elderly which is why they have a duty to do everything possible to prevent this.
Nursing home administrators and staff can be negligent in their responsibilities to residents, which can lead to abuse, suffering, or death. It’s important if your loved one is a nursing home facility that they have someone to advocate for them, as they likely can’t for themself.
Common Infections in the Elderly
- Bacteria Pneumonia: Increased exposure in nursing home settings can make this form of pneumonia spread quickly amongst the population
- Influenza: The closed corridors of a nursing home environment make it highly contagious and dangerous for an elderly individual to develop to the flu; furthermore, this can lead to pneumonia. Flu and pneumonia are the sixth leading cause of death in America with the elderly population making up 90% of deaths.
- Skin Infections: Bacterial or fungal foot infections, shingles, cellulitis, pressure ulcers or bedsores, and MRSA are common causes of skin infection in nursing home facilities.
- Gastrointestinal Infection: Two common gastrointestinal infections in the elderly due to changes in the digestive tract are Clostridium Difficile and Helicobacter pyloria.
- Urinary Tract Infections: Residents who need a catheter, suffer from diabetes or immobility can cause UTI’s.
Sepsis and the Elderly: Attacking the Most Vulnerable Population
Sepsis is a “potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues. When the infection-fighting processes turn on the body, they cause organs to function poorly and abnormally.” Many organs are involved in this type of infection and are at-risk to fail.
Sepsis may progress to sepsis shock. Sepsis shock is the “dramatic drop in blood pressure that can lead to severe organ problems and death.”
Risk factors related to sepsis are:
- Older age
- Compromised immune system
- Chronic kidney or liver disease
- Admission to intensive care unit or longer hospital stays
- Invasive devices, such as intravenous catheters or breathing tubes
- Previous use of antibiotics or corticosteroids
Many residents who enter a nursing home suffer from one of the above listed risk factors. Situations such as this require heightened vigilance; unfortunately, nursing home staff doesn’t always remain on their feet about this.
Contact a Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorney in Chicago, Illinois
A nursing home neglect and abuse attorney can help get you answers about your loved one’s infection(s) or sepsis. Nursing homes have a duty to take reasonable steps to prevent known health vulnerabilities to develop. The attorneys of Dinizulu Law Group have the experience and resources to hold nursing home facilities accountable for the negligence and abuse that your loved one may have endured. Call our office today for a free consultation at (312) 384-1920 or visit our website for more information.