There are many risks faced by residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. For those with complicated medical conditions or compromised immune systems, bacteria can be among the most dangerous of these risks.
Bacteria are common in any healthcare setting. The intense cleaning products and sterilization procedures used in these facilities are important sanitation measures, but they can also have the unintended consequence of spreading powerful bacteria that are resistant to traditional antibiotics.
What Are Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that bacterial infections are common in settings where large numbers of people have a lot of personal contact. This can include hospitals, day care centers, and assisted living facilities. The treatment for such bacterial infections commonly involves the use of antibiotic medications. This has, however, made antibiotic use so common that new strains of bacteria are developing resistance to these antibiotics.
This problem has been exacerbated by certain doctors who overprescribe antibiotics. Antibiotic use is especially common among young children and the elderly. This makes day care centers and nursing homes the ideal setting for the breeding and spreading of “super bacteria.” When bacteria do not respond to antibiotics, doctors are often left with few other treatment options.
It is not just children and the elderly who are at risk of suffering these dangerous consequences. Employees of day care centers, hospitals, and nursing homes are also exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Their frequent personal contact with children and the elderly can dramatically increase the risk of acquiring such bacteria.
The Pervasive Problem of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
Statistics reported by the Birmingham Patch indicate that cases of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are alarmingly common. In 2017, the CDC reported 220 bacterial outbreaks in 27 states, including Alabama. These cases result in approximately two million infections every year. An estimated 23,000 victims die in the United States annually as the result of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.
Because this problem is especially common among the elderly, nursing homes and assisted care facilities have an increased duty of care to protect their residents from such bacteria. Unsanitary conditions or improper handwashing procedures can increase the risk of spreading bacteria. Unsterile intravenous lines, catheters, and other medical devices are common sources of bacterial infections.
Nursing homes that allow such conditions to exist may be found negligent. This makes them legally obligated to compensate their residents for injuries and losses sustained as a result of such negligence. In circumstances where a single unsterile device leads to an outbreak that affects dozens of residents, it is especially important to hold nursing homes accountable for failing to maintain sanitary conditions.
A Mobile nursing home neglect lawyer can help protect your loved ones from dangerous conditions in assisted-living facilities. By holding a facility accountable for unsanitary or dangerous conditions, a victim of neglect can both access the compensation which the law provides, and protect other innocent victims from being harmed by dangerous conditions.