Recent studies have shown that each year, a bacterium that causes swelling of the colon known as Clostridium difficile, contributes to an outstanding number of deaths as high as 29,000 and infecting many more. 80% of fatalities from the bacteria are elderly patients over the age of 65, which leaves much reason for concern. The reason why? It tends to infect those in a healthcare setting after broad-spectrum antibiotics are prescribed for other infections. These antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria that protect against further infection and make these people highly vulnerable to obtaining C. difficile.
Nursing homes and hospitals can end up being held liable in the end when C. difficile leads to agony or even fatality in a patient. A commitment to each patient’s special needs pertaining to the antibiotics or other medicine prescribed is especially crucial. Preventing these infections is the best step to be taken to avoid legal matters stemming from the lack of care given to a patient in this particular case. Elderly people in nursing homes are, for the most part, coming directly from a hospital setting with the intentions of improving their health so that they have the possibility of returning home. However, this cannot happen if a nursing home is unable to assess C. difficile complications such as the sudden malnutrition, frailty, and further hospitalizations.
Aside from these complications, it is good to know that C. difficile is an infection that causes extreme diarrhea symptoms. In the case that one of these infections was not preventable, there are proper precautions to be taken to assure that the patient will not suffer any consequences once the infection has cleared. This falls liable on the nursing home facility and caretakers in charge of the patient’s needs. These factors include:
- Isolating all incidents of patients suffering from C. difficile
- Thorough cleaning and care of shared instruments like bathtubs and toilets
- Proper nursing staff hand hygiene
Furthermore, it is widely important that nurses be educated in the care of incontinence, or the loss of bladder controls due to the infection. Bed linens and diapers will need to be changed frequently as to avoid further infections and complications. Unhygienic conditions are grounds for legal problems to arise in the nursing home.
- difficile alone has become the most common infection to arise in healthcare facilities in the United States and has caused over $48 billion for treatment and excess healthcare costs, which can be seen as a bit of a threat in financial and physical ways for both healthcare facility and patient. Keeping the fatality statistics low to nonexistent is something to strive for, as it is a common fact that 1 in 9 patients 65 or older will die within 30 days of this diagnosis.
One must sympathize with a family member who has a loved one in a nursing home. A certain level of care is expected to come from their experience staying there, whether it’s short term or long term. As a nationwide initiative to combat this terrible infection takes place in our modern times, there will always be a worry that a loved one could end up obtaining an infection. With proper care and treatment from a trusted facility, the fatalities will only lower.