Your body wants to protect you from infections as best as it can. If a wound grows too large or lasts for too long, your body can turn against you. Sepsis affects parties in all demographics, but it commonly impacts elderly nursing home residents, according to a news report by Kaiser Health News and the Chicago Tribune.
These residents, who often are unable to communicate their needs to caregivers or advocate for themselves, cannot only suffer from sepsis but may develop post sepsis syndrome—if they survive their infection.
Contracting Sepsis in a Nursing Home
Nursing home residents are federally protected by a legal standard of care under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. Even so, there are nursing homes in the United States that lack the means or the motivation to give each of their residents the individualized care that they need. Pair this variable environment with a resident’s medical history, and sepsis becomes more common among this demographic.
Put another way, sepsis most frequently arises in individuals who are:
- Age 65 or older
- Have weakened immune systems
- Endure preexisting medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, or lung disease
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The Stages of Sepsis
According to Healthline, sepsis evolves in stages and affects the body differently as it progresses. The stages of sepsis include:
- Sepsis: In its early phases, sepsis looks like an infection. A patient will develop a fever above 101 degrees or have her body temperature fall below 95 degrees. Her resting heart rate will also increase to above 90 beats per minute, and her breathing may be rapid.
- Severe sepsis: Patients with untreated sepsis will have a harder time breathing the longer they go without care. Severe sepsis also forces patients to endure severe stomach and abdominal pain as well as increased sleepiness or memory problems.
- Septic shock: Sepsis that infects the body without treatment will, after a time, force a person into a state of shock. Blood pressure will drop and become difficult to raise back up to healthy levels. At this stage, sepsis is often fatal.
Even if a person recovers from sepsis in nursing homes, they could contract post-sepsis syndrome. This syndrome resembles post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and disrupts a person’s mental functionality. Nursing home residents with post-sepsis syndrome may experience nightmares, hallucinations, panic attacks, and severe muscle or joint pain.
Nursing Home Negligence and Sepsis
Just because a person exhibits these traits in a nursing home, however, does not mean sepsis should be inevitable. If a nursing home resident develops a wound that then manifests sepsis without the medical history to justify either, the situation may warrant closer investigation.
Nursing home caregivers should try to help prevent sepsis by:
- Moving patients who have immobility issues or who have difficulty with physical activity
- Sanitizing medical equipment regularly
- Complying with state and federal medical standards
- Monitoring ill patients for signs of worsening health
- Cleaning residents’ wounds or injuries
- Diagnosing residents and providing them with medical care at appropriate intervals
- Cleaning the nursing home to ensure residents’ quality of life
It is also important to keep an eye out for the conditions that may indicate sepsis in older patients. These include increased body temperature, indications of infection, mental decline, and extreme experiences with pain or dread.
Reach Out to a Sepsis in Nursing Homes Lawyer for Guidance
Nursing home residents are a vulnerable demographic. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you will want to do what you can to keep an eye on their health and care. If you suspect that someone you care about may be enduring neglect or abuse, resulting in the contraction of sepsis, you have a right to pursue legal action.
As you develop a case, a legal team can help you:
- Investigate the case that led to sepsis contraction
- Compare health with preexisting medical records
- Determine the liability of the staff and the nursing home
- Establish a body of evidence
- Maintain professional communication in and out of civil court
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, does not shy away from difficult cases. We also respect your time and resources as you pursue legal action. You will not receive a bill for our services unless you receive compensation for the neglect a relative may have endured while in a nursing home.
Sepsis will transform the lives of those who contract it in a senior care facility. You do not have to let neglect or nursing home abuse complicate your loved one’s life.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, can help you better understand the situation you are facing as well as any compensation you and your loved ones may be entitled to. Call us at (800) 959-1444 today.