Gastroenteritis In Nursing Homes
Nursing home residents are often more susceptible to certain types of medical conditions. Unfortunately, gastroenteritis, or the inflammation and irritation of the stomach and intestines, falls under this category. Frustratingly, this condition in residents can often be traced to mismanagement on the part of the nursing home, which could be engaging in negligent practices. In these cases, a wronged resident could attempt to hold the nursing home accountable by filing a lawsuit with the help of a Tulsa nursing home sepsis and infections lawyer.
What Causes Gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis can usually be linked to viral and bacterial infections that are spread through food consumption or poor hand washing practices. Nursing home residents can contract this illness if they come into contact with another sick resident, touch an item that was recently touched by someone with infectious gastroenteritis, or consume contaminated food or water. Unfortunately, the close living quarters of most nursing homes, when combined with the weakened immune systems of residents and inferior sanitation practices, make long-term care facilities a hotbed for these types of viruses and bacteria.
Effects of Gastroenteritis
The symptoms of gastroenteritis usually last for between one and three days, but can persist in residents with suppressed immune systems. Short-term effects typically include:
- Abdominal pain and stomach cramps;
- Appetite loss; and
The most dangerous consequence of bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, however, often proves to be dehydration, which is more common amongst elderly nursing home residents who may be on strict diets of food and water intake to treat other ailments. For these reasons, gastroenteritis poses a very real risk to nursing home residents, who, unlike other members of the population, are often not able to recover quickly even with rest and rehydration.
Why Does Gastroenteritis Spread So Quickly in Nursing Homes?
A number of factors make the spread of infectious agents, like the bacteria and viruses that cause gastroenteritis, especially common in nursing homes. Close living arrangements and contact with visitors and staff can, for instance, significantly increase a resident’s chances of infection. The centralized preparation and service of food also increases the risk of transmission via food-borne agents, as can the utilization of shared surfaces in recreation rooms and other shared living spaces. Poor hygiene practices amongst residents, as well as the use of soiled bedding have also proven to be particularly dangerous in nursing homes, where residents are often unable to perform these functions themselves.
Nursing Home Liability
Nursing homes are directed to take special precautions when preparing food, sanitizing surfaces, helping residents with their hygiene, and limiting contact with visitors and staff who may be ill. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to abide by these rules, leaving residents at a much higher risk of contracting gastroenteritis. It is, however, possible to hold such establishments liable for their negligent care.
Call Today to Learn More About Your Legal Options
Filing a claim against a negligent nursing home is often the best and only way for wronged nursing home residents to obtain compensation for their losses. To learn more about this process, please call 918-492-4433 and set up a meeting with one of the dedicated Tulsa nursing home sepsis and infections lawyers at Levinson Law, P.C. today.