Sepsis Infection Deaths Soar in Nursing Homes

Sepsis, also known as septicemia, is a dangerous immune response to infection that can threaten people of all ages, causing a range of short-term and long-term health issues. But when seniors contract sepsis, it’s far more likely that it will result in their death. In a shocking new analysis by Definitive Healthcare, sepsis is now the top reason nursing home residents are transferred to hospitals – and the death toll from these cases is much higher than that seen in hospitalizations for other conditions.

Sepsis is one of the most common indicators of nursing home abuse and neglect, as it directly correlates to the standard of care in these facilities. At Brown & Barron, LLC, we represent clients who have suffered nursing home neglect at the hands of negligent care professionals and administrators. In this post, we’ll review the recent report, and what it could mean for nursing home residents in Maryland.

Sepsis Infections Startlingly Common in Nursing Homes

Sepsis mortality rates are already quite high for the population as a whole: The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 patients who die in hospital also have sepsis, and that more than 250,000 Americans each year will die from this disorder. However, for senior citizens who already face an array of health issues and attacks on their weakened immune systems, the effects of sepsis are even more catastrophic. According to the Definitive Healthcare analysis, more than 25,000 nursing home residents across the country suffer from sepsis each year, and it costs Medicare more than $2 billion each year to treat these cases in-hospital.

In nursing homes, sepsis can be caused by any of the following:

  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Unsanitary equipment
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Infected bed sores
  • Poorly maintained or broken catheters
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Urinary tract infections

Why are sepsis mortality rates so high for nursing home residents? The answer to that question is complex, but most experts believe the primary reason behind high sepsis rates in nursing homes has to do with chronically low staffing levels. Another analysis performed by Kaiser Health News discovered that nursing homes frequently exaggerated staffing levels when reporting their payroll records to the government, until the Affordable Care Act of 2010 required Medicare to independently collect their own data. After this data was analyzed, it was discovered that most nursing homes barely meet the minimum requirements for daily visits resident, and that many fall seriously short of the standard.

Meeting the Standard of Care in Nursing Homes

Although the reasons for sepsis in nursing homes can vary, there is a strong connection between facilities that fail to meet the standard of care, and an increase in fatal sepsis events. Even when dealing with low staffing levels, nursing homes have a responsibility to care for their residents, and to prevent relatively minor health issues like bed sores from turning septic.

If your loved one has been hurt by sepsis while living in a nursing home or residence, you may be able to seek damages for their suffering and hardship. At Brown & Barron, LLC, our Baltimore nursing home abuse & neglect attorneys have experience navigating these cases, and determining who is at fault when sepsis threatens the life of your loved one. We understand that it can be traumatizing to learn that your elderly family member has been neglected or hurt, and we can provide compassionate counsel on your case during this difficult time.

Don’t hesitate to get help for your sepsis case today. Contact our team at (410) 698-1717 or schedule a free consultation online.

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