How dangerous is sepsis to loved ones in a nursing home?

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Elder Abuse

Sepsis arises from infections and can affect anyone. Yet, it seems to favor those with compromised immune systems, such as aging adults with pre-existing health issues. Nursing homes that do not take preventative measures to prevent the spread of infection could unknowingly contribute to the occurrence of sepsis among residents.

The dangers of sepsis to the elderly

Aging compromises the body’s immune system, leading to slower and weaker responses to illnesses. As a result, older adults face more difficulty recovering from health challenges. Currently, most adults over 60 have at least one chronic disease, such as hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

With a weakened immune system and a pre-existing condition, older adults who get an infection could increase their chances of developing sepsis. But, research shows that sepsis can be more devastating for critically ill older adults.

Sepsis triggers the immune system to overreact to an infection, potentially resulting in tissue damage, organ failure and death. Unfortunately, even older adults who recover from sepsis may experience a decline in quality of life due to impairments resulting from the condition.

How sepsis develops in nursing homes

Sepsis itself is not contagious, but the infections that cause it are. Often, these infections are preventable through stringent hygiene practices and maintaining a sanitary environment. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fall short in those areas.

In addition, residents often share spaces, bedding, utensils or other items in these facilities. An infection could spread from one resident to another these items are not effectively sanitized. Infections can also arise from pressure ulcers, which occur when staff forget to reposition a resident with mobility problems. Adding to the problem is the delay in medical treatment for sick residents, often resulting from understaffing or neglect.

The alarming rate of residents being hospitalized for sepsis underscores the importance of upholding high standards of care in nursing homes.

Immediate action is necessary to fight sepsis

Sepsis can progress into septic shock within 12 to 24 hours. Residents who show symptoms should be given medical attention immediately. Prompt action from the facility and early diagnosis can avert serious, lasting effects or even death.

If your loved one develops sepsis during their stay at a nursing home, consider talking to a lawyer. If there is evidence to show that the nursing home’s neglect contributed to the infection or sepsis, you may have grounds for legal action.


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