Compromised immune systems, close living quarters, and shared facilities – all of these factors add up to make nursing home residents more susceptible to contagious diseases. Nursing home infections are illnesses or diseases that residents of skilled nursing and long-term care facilities contract due to the presence and spread of harmful microorganisms. Inadequate hygiene practices, insufficient staffing, and neglect can contribute to the spread of infections in these environments.
If your loved one has contracted an infection from a nursing home, contact the nursing home abuse lawyers at Ron Bell.
Our team is available 24/7 to take your call, and we offer free consultations so that you can understand your rights and the next steps you should take.
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Common Types of Nursing Home Infections
Germs are everywhere, of course, but there are some types of infections that spread regularly in nursing home facilities. Common examples include:
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): UTIs are bacterial infections in the urinary system and are common among elderly residents due to factors like reduced mobility and incontinence.
- Respiratory Infections: This can include infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and influenza (flu), which can spread rapidly in close living environments.
- Skin Infections: Skin infections like cellulitis (bacterial skin infection), fungal infections (such as ringworm), and pressure ulcers (bedsores) can occur due to compromised skin integrity and inadequate hygiene.
- Gastrointestinal Infections: Infections like gastroenteritis, caused by viruses or bacteria, lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps, often spreading in crowded settings.
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff) Infection: C. difficile is a bacteria that causes inflammation in the colon, leading to symptoms ranging from mild diarrhea to severe colon inflammation.
- Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) Infection: MRSA is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics, making it challenging to treat. It can cause skin infections and, in severe cases, lead to pneumonia or bloodstream infections.
- Infectious Diseases: Certain infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB) and scabies, can spread in nursing homes if not properly controlled due to close contact among residents.
If your loved one is in a nursing home, make sure preventive measures, proper hygiene, and attentive healthcare practices are in place. These measures are vital in reducing the risk of these infections, which you can learn more about in the next section.
Recognizing Signs of Nursing Home Infections
If you suspect an infection, here are some physical and behavioral signs to watch for. It’s important to note that these symptoms, especially when occurring together or frequently, should be promptly evaluated by a healthcare professional for proper medical care.
- Skin Changes (redness, swelling, warmth): These symptoms can be indicative of a skin infection, such as cellulitis, which is a bacterial skin infection characterized by redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the affected area. In elderly individuals, skin infections can be common and may result from various causes, including poor hygiene or compromised immune systems.
- Respiratory Distress: Symptoms like rapid breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, or chest pain can be a sign of respiratory infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis. In nursing homes, residents are at a higher risk of respiratory infections due to close living quarters and shared facilities. Respiratory distress can also be a symptom of severe cases of COVID-19, which has been a major concern in nursing homes since the pandemic.
- Frequent Infections: Recurrent urinary tract infections, skin infections, respiratory infections, or gastrointestinal infections can be common in elderly individuals with compromised immune responses. Frequent infections might also indicate inadequate infection control measures within the facility.
Behavioral and Psychological Signs
- Confusion or Disorientation: Infections, especially in elderly individuals, can sometimes lead to confusion or disorientation. Conditions like urinary tract infections (UTIs) or certain respiratory infections can cause changes in mental status, leading to confusion, memory problems, or disorientation/delirium.
- Unexplained Agitation or Withdrawal: These behavior changes can sometimes result from discomfort or pain caused by infections. For instance, a resident experiencing pain due to an infection may become agitated or irritable. Conversely, some individuals might withdraw and become less communicative when they are not feeling well.
- Sudden Changes in Mood or Behavior: Sudden changes in mood or behavior, especially when accompanied by other symptoms like fever, could indicate an underlying infection. They might manifest as increased irritability, sadness, or aggression.
Causes and Spread of Infections
Is the nursing home where your family member resides doing everything it can to stop the spread of these dangerous infections and doing what it takes to keep them safe? Here are some ways a nursing home can be at fault for infections.
Poor Hygiene and Sanitation
Nursing home infections often result from poor hygiene and sanitation, posing a major threat to residents with weakened immune systems. Maintaining cleanliness is crucial. Inadequate hand hygiene, improper disposal of items, and dirty living spaces can lead to infections. Because residents rely so heavily on staff members and facility sanitation, insufficient measures can increase infection risks.
Staffing Issues and Negligence
Understaffed facilities struggle to provide proper care, leading to delays in basic hygiene, medication, and cleanliness. Inadequate staff can also rush care, causing oversights in infection control. Neglect, intentional or not, can lead to ignored hygiene needs and delayed medical attention, raising infection risks and harming residents’ health.
Inadequate Training and Supervision
Finally, insufficient training and supervision of nursing home staff significantly increase infection risks. Staff have a duty of care and need proper education to follow infection control rules, recognize signs of infections, and manage contaminated materials. On the other hand, supervision is vital to ensure staff consistently follow protocols. Without proper oversight and guidance, deviations in infection control practice can create an environment for infections to spread.
How an Albuquerque Nursing Home Infections Lawyer Can Help
If you have good reason to believe your relative is suffering from an infection due to nursing home negligence, you have legal options. You don’t have to prove your loved one is an abuse victim by yourself or fight alone. The help of an experienced Albuquerque nursing home abuse lawyer can provide essential assistance in various aspects of your case.
Investigation and Gathering Evidence
Your attorney can thoroughly investigate the case, collecting evidence to establish negligence or misconduct on the part of the nursing home facility.
Our firm can obtain medical records, surveillance footage, witness statements, and expert opinions to build a strong case against the negligent parties.
Properly gathered evidence is vital in proving that the infection occurred due to the facility’s failure to meet the standard of care, such as inadequate hygiene practices or insufficient infection control protocols.
Legal Experience and Strategy
Lawyers with experience in nursing home abuse cases are well-versed in relevant laws and regulations. They can navigate complex legal procedures and requirements specific to nursing home cases.
Our team can develop a legal strategy tailored to the unique circumstances of the case, anticipating challenges from the defense, and ensuring the client’s rights are protected.
Understanding medical malpractice laws and experience with similar cases enable them to present a compelling argument in court or during settlement negotiations.
Pursuing Maximum Compensation for Damages:
Our nursing home abuse attorneys advocate for victims, pursuing compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and in cases of wrongful death, funeral expenses, and loss of financial support for the family.
We will assess the full extent of damages, including long-term care costs and ongoing medical treatments, ensuring that victims receive fair compensation to cover both current and future needs.
Additionally, we can negotiate with insurance companies or legal representatives of the facility to secure a settlement that adequately compensates the victims for their losses.
The right legal representation ensures a comprehensive approach to your case. An Albuquerque nursing home abuse attorney is experienced in dealing with neglect cases and other lawsuits stemming from New Mexico nursing home abuse. At Ron Bell Injury Lawyers, our team has the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to investigate the incident thoroughly, devise effective legal strategies, and pursue appropriate compensation.
Help level the playing field against Albuquerque nursing home facilities and their insurers by working with an injury attorney who will get you the justice and compensation you and your family deserve.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
An infection may be just one sign of a larger abuse issue happening within the facility. There are five main types of elder abuse that frequently happen in nursing homes.
Why choose Ron Bell Injury Lawyers for your nursing home infection lawsuit?
Experienced Legal Team: Our seasoned personal injury lawyers have over 35 years of experience handling nursing home infection cases, ensuring the best possible outcome for your claim.
Free Case Evaluation: Call us today for a free case review. There is no risk, and our legal team can help you understand what steps to take and if you have an injury claim to pursue.
No Upfront Fees: We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay when we win your case, providing you peace of mind during this challenging time.
In-depth knowledge of New Mexico Nursing Home Laws: Our legal team understands the complexities of nursing home laws in the state of New Mexico, advocating for the proper care and justice your loved one deserves.
Testimonials from Satisfied Clients
Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Albuquerque have successfully represented numerous families in personal injury cases, and our testimonials and verdicts speak to our dedication and commitment to our client’s well-being.
“My dad was treated badly in a nursing home. We called Ron Bell, and they sent a representative to get us started. The services are great, and they really explained everything clearly. Everybody we have spoken with has been really helpful. I would recommend Ron Bell Injury Lawyers.”
Johnny R. – Albuquerque, NM
“My aunt was in a skilled nursing facility. She was neglected and had a couple of unexplained falls. Ron Bell’s law firm was called. They sent out a representative to start paperwork and get things started. They were very friendly and explained everything to us. I am very satisfied with services we have received.”
Crestina B. – Albuquerque, NM
“My mother was in a nursing home, they did not take good care of her. She was assaulted, and finally I had to take her out of that facility. She was traumatized. I called Ron Bell. I am very satisfied with the help the firm has provided me to get justice for my mom.”
Michelle R. – Albuquerque, NM
Free Consultation and Nursing Home Infection Case Evaluation
In the battle against nursing home neglect and elder abuse, trust Ron Bell, Albuquerque’s top-rated nursing home abuse attorney, to protect your family’s legal rights and seek justice for your loved one. Contact our Albuquerque law office today for your free consultation and let us help you hold negligent nursing home staff and healthcare providers accountable for their actions. Your loved one’s health and safety matter, and we are here to fight for them.
If you suspect an infection is a result of nursing home neglect or abuse, don’t wait. Contact Ron Bell Injury Lawyers today at 505-898-BELL for a free initial consultation and case review. We have over 35 years of experience in nursing home infection lawsuits, ensuring your family member’s well-being and seeking the justice they deserve. Remember, there’s a statute of limitations in cases like this, so acting as soon as possible is essential to protect your legal rights.
Articles and Studies about Nursing Home Infections
- Most nursing homes violate infection control standards (NM Political Report)
- ‘An anything-goes situation’ (Searchlight New Mexico)
- Decolonization in Nursing Homes Cuts the Risk of Dangerous Infections (Medpage Today)
- How Nursing Homes Failed to Protect Residents From Covid (The New York Times)
- Reimagining Infection Control in U.S. Nursing Homes in the Era of COVID-19 (ScienceDirect)
FAQs About Nursing Home Infection Lawsuits
What is a nursing home infection lawsuit?
A nursing home infection lawsuit is a legal action filed by a resident, their family, or their estate against a nursing home facility, alleging that the facility’s negligence or misconduct led to the resident contracting an infection or disease while in their care.
What types of infections can lead to nursing home infection lawsuits?
Nursing home infection lawsuits can arise from various infections, including but not limited to respiratory infections (such as pneumonia), urinary tract infections, skin infections, and contagious diseases like COVID-19.
What constitutes negligence in a nursing home infection lawsuit?
Negligence can include inadequate infection control measures, understaffing, lack of proper training, failure to isolate infected residents, insufficient hygiene practices, or failure to provide necessary medical care.
How can you prove negligence when it comes to infections?
Families can prove negligence by gathering evidence such as medical records, witness statements, photographs, and expert testimony to demonstrate that the nursing home failed to meet the standard of care expected in preventing infections.
What damages can be sought?
Damages in nursing home infection lawsuits may include medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and, in cases of wrongful death, funeral expenses and loss of financial support.
How long do I have to file a nursing home infection lawsuit in New Mexico?
The procedure of filing a negligence lawsuit against a nursing facility should begin as soon as possible. If you want to pursue a nursing home negligence claim, the first step is to contact a lawyer. The lawyers at Ron Bell Injury Lawyers can assist you in filing a complaint against the institution or its employees.
This complaint is a legal document that contains information, such as:
- An explanation of the victim’s injuries
- Facts about the occurrences of neglect that are relevant
- The names of the parties involved
It also helps others avoid being neglected in the future. Nursing facilities that have been sued may alter their policies in order to improve the quality of treatment and avoid more litigation.
However, if you wait too long after the neglect occurs, you may not be able to pursue legal action. Statutes of limitations prohibit lawsuits from being launched after a specified period of time has passed. The statute of limitations on reporting elder abuse in New Mexico is three (3) years. Our personal injury attorneys can assist you in meeting these deadlines.
Can a nursing home be held liable for COVID-19 infections?
Yes, nursing homes can be held liable for COVID-19 infections if it can be proven that the facility’s negligence, such as lack of proper protective equipment, failure to quarantine infected residents, or inadequate sanitization, contributed to the spread of the virus.
Should I hire an attorney for a nursing home infection lawsuit?
It is highly recommended to hire an experienced attorney for nursing home abuse and neglect cases. They can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and represent your interests in court.
What should I do if I suspect my loved one contracted an infection due to nursing home negligence?
If you suspect negligence, document the situation, take photographs if possible, and gather any relevant medical records. Then, consult with a nursing home abuse attorney from Ron Bell Injury Lawyers in Albuquerque to discuss your concerns and explore your legal options.
How long does a nursing home infection lawsuit typically take to resolve?
The duration of a lawsuit varies depending on the complexity of the case and the legal process. Some cases may settle out of court quickly, while others could take several months or even years to reach a resolution, especially if they go to trial.
New Mexico Resources and Support Organizations for Families