MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureous) infections in nursing homes have increased dramatically over the past 15 years. In fact, a sampling of 1,111 residents and 553 staff in 45 nursing homes revealed 24% of residents and 7% of the staff were MRSA carriers. MRSA is a form of staph bacteria that is resistant to most antibiotics. In the older population, the ineffectiveness of certain drugs is dangerous because it weakens their immune system and there is more difficulty fighting off serious infections.
Most strains of MRSA can still be treated with the antibiotic “Vancomycin”. However, new strains of drug-resistant MRSA has now become more prevalent and the use of Vancomycin to treat MRSA is becoming less effective. Most MRSA outbreaks or infections can be averted if health care professionals wash their hands, use hand sanitizers and keep wounds covered with dry bandages.
Another risk of infection in nursing homes is the development of infection in central venous catheters. A central venous catheter is a tube usually inserted in an arm or chest and threaded through a vein until it reaches a large vein close to the heart. Central venous catheters are used to administer medication, supply nutrition or blood products to a resident. More than 40% of blood stream infections are related to people with central venous catheters. An estimated one to five percent of people with central venous catheters who get an infection die from them. Infections can typically be avoided if catheters are flushed regularly and sterile technique and conditions are maintained. If you have acquired a blood infection during your hospital or nursing home stay, do not assume the condition was inevitable. Infections from catheters can be avoided.
“Sepsis” is a bacterial infection in the blood stream or body tissues. Sepsis is a common medical condition which accounts for:
- 1-2% of all hospitalizations
- 25% of all intensive care visits
- 10% of deaths in facilities
In most cases, the treatment consists of antibiotic and surgical drainage. Sepsis most commonly results from pressure sores or urinary tract infections in the nursing home setting. Interventions with antibiotic therapy is the key to successful treatment.
If your loved one has developed a serious infection in a nursing facility, please call Fenster & Cohen, P.A. to discuss your specific circumstances and whether we can be of assistance to you and your family.