Putting a loved one in a nursing home is difficult for everyone involved. Sometimes, the hospital may discharge your loved one to a skilled nursing facility. In other cases, your family may reluctantly put your loved one in a facility because they need more supervision and care than the family can provide.

Quality of care is a concern many families and patients have when considering a nursing home placement. When a patient develops infections in a Houston nursing home, you should consider it worthy of investigation. A local negligence attorney at Roberts Markland LLP could advise you on how to proceed if you are concerned about the care your loved one receives in a nursing home.

Dangers of Infection Among Nursing Home Residents

Infection is a serious health issue among older adults, especially those living in assisted care facilities in Houston. Many residents of these facilities have compromised immune systems, and many take multiple medications, making it more challenging to treat an infection.

At the same time, they live in close proximity to other sick people. Many nursing home residents use catheters, prostheses, and other devices that can introduce bacteria and cause an infection. An infirm person might have difficulty with personal hygiene, raising the likelihood of an infection.

According to the Texas Health and Human Services Department, infections are responsible for nearly half of the transfers of nursing home patients to hospitals each year. In addition, mortality from illnesses in nursing home patients is high, approaching 40 percent.

How to Prevent Infections in Nursing Homes

Because infections are so lethal to older people, nursing facilities in Houston must do what they can to prevent them by implementing strict procedures to prevent, diagnose, and control infections. For example, basic sanitation can prevent sickness. A nursing home can limit the risk of infection by consistently doing the following:

  • Enforcing hand-washing protocols among all staff and volunteers
  • Maintaining clean premises
  • Designating equipment such as blood glucose monitors for the use of a single patient
  • Thoroughly disinfecting all medical equipment after each use
  • Moving immobile patients frequently to prevent bedsores
  • Encouraging movement among mobile patients to prevent pneumonia
  • Monitoring for and immediately reporting all incidences of communicable diseases
  • Adhering to strict isolation protocols when warranted

Texas Administrative Code Rule 554.1601(c) requires facilities to have a clinician designated as the Infection Preventionist and an Infection Control Committee to monitor the facility’s infection efforts and respond quickly to problems.

When you visit the nursing facility your loved one is living in, observing whether the staff adheres to these best practices is crucial. If you have concerns, discuss them with your loved one’s doctor and with the facility Administrator.

What to Do When Your Loved One Develops an Infection

When your loved one develops an infection in a nursing home, your priority should be getting immediate medical attention and speaking with the administrator about how the disease developed. Contacting an attorney in Houston is also essential when your loved one falls ill because of an assisted living facility.

A legal professional could investigate whether the facility has a record of poor infection control practices. They could direct you to the appropriate government office to file a complaint about your loved one’s care, and they could help you draft the complaint based on their findings. In these cases, the nursing home is liable for the cost of medical treatment, as well as your loved one’s pain, suffering, and other consequences the infection has on their quality of life.

Contact an Attorney About Nursing Home Infections in Houston

Nursing home residents are already fragile. It can be hard to know when an infection results from poor care or is inevitable due to their condition. Even when someone is very sick, infections are almost always preventable.

Contact a Houston negligence lawyer immediately when your loved one develops an infection in a nursing home. Our legal team members can help you determine whether the facility was negligent and hold the people responsible accountable.