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Staph Infections Present Serious Problems in Nursing Homes

May 20, 2020

If your loved one is a current nursing home resident, you are probably concerned about the care he or she receives.

Infections are always an issue since they can spread easily. One such example is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. Why is this kind of infection so common in nursing homes, and how can staff protect residents against it?

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

MRSA is a kind of staph infection that is prevalent in nursing homes. It is a form of bacteria that becomes a serious problem if it enters the body. The infection is difficult to treat because it is resistant to many antibiotics.

It can penetrate through cuts or scratches or through the use of medical devices such as catheters. It can easily spread in the nursing home environment through contact with clothing, sheets or dressings. If MRSA goes deep into tissues, it can cause bone infections. If it enters the bloodstream, it can cause bacterial pneumonia or sepsis, and if it enters the urinary tract, kidney failure can result.

Necessary Precautions

A staph infection can cause a number of health problems, such as toxic shock syndrome and even food poisoning. Proper hygiene is critical. Nursing home staff should wear gloves when interacting with residents and engage in frequent hand washing. Any resident who has MRSA should undergo isolation to help stop the spread of the infection. Checking the advancement of the infection is high priority as a serious case can even lead to heart failure.

Misdiagnosis Potential

A major reason that elderly nursing home residents are so susceptible to staph infections is that advancing age weakens their immune systems. They may also have underlying medical conditions. Moreover, older people may have taken different types of antibiotics throughout their lives and, as a result, those prescribed for MRSA and other infections may not be effective.

Keep a close eye on your loved one. If you suspect negligence in any form, share the concerns you have with nursing home staff, especially if you worry about possible exposure to an infection like MRSA. Since MRSA shares certain symptoms with other conditions, misdiagnosis is also a possibility and could lead to a claim of medical malpractice.