Pneumonia and related lower respiratory tract infections are the leading cause of death among residents of nursing homes. Pneumonia and lower respiratory tract infections continue to be the leading cause of death among residents of nursing homes. Seasonal flu outbreaks can devastate a nursing home without making headlines. As with COVID-19, influenza enters the facility through staff or visitors, and then spreads among the elderly and immunocompromised residents.
One of the grim lessons of the COVID-19 epidemic is that most nursing homes are unwilling to invest in basic protections, such as paid sick leave for staff members who are sick, adequate personal protective equipment, proper training and infection protocols, and the facility space to accommodate and isolate infected patients. As a result of penny pinching, thousands of nursing home residents die of pneumonia from seasonal flu. Residents who need a feeding tube have an even greater risk of pneumonia. Nursing homes that fail to monitor proper oral and dental care have also been found to be associated with higher rates of pneumonia.
After COVID-19, it must be concluded that for nursing homes in the United States, the lack of infection controls is a fact, and even regulators do not expect the “best nursing homes to be prepared even for ordinary, common infections.” Studies show that nursing home residents are four times more likely to die from gastroenteritis than elderly people who do not live in nursing homes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are a leading cause of injury and death in nursing home centers across the country. When nursing homes are not properly maintained and cleaned, or staff members are not qualified to provide care, residents are at greater risk of fatal injury or illness. If you think your loved one was abused in a nursing home before their death, you can work with an attorney to build your case and discuss your legal options.
Nursing home residents require a specific quality of care under your state's law, and failing to meet that standard may entitle you or your loved one receiving care to compensation. However, the true cause of death in the nursing home resident is often difficult to specify when patients often undergo few checks before dying and rarely undergo autopsies. Most people want to stay home as long as possible, and some may even have asked their family members not to send them to a nursing home. Residents of nursing homes deserve respect and access to a quality of life that sustains their many years of life.
The difference between nursing homes and assisted living is the level of care provided at each facility. Residents of nursing homes may also have coordination issues as they try to make their way through their residence. Nursing home residents are also susceptible to pressure ulcers, a preventable condition that can be very serious.