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Infections are a common nursing home problem

According to a report from Kaiser Health News, 74 percent of nursing homes in America have been cited for not taking proper measures to prevent infections. The report analyzed four years of data from facilities in North Carolina and throughout the country. However, it is rare for nursing homes that are cited to face any significant consequences. Only 1 in every 75 nursing homes that have been cited in the years analyzed have received citations that come with financial penalties.

Infections may result in the death of up to 380,000 people per year. As of 2012, the average hospital stay was 4.5 days compared to 7.3 in 1980. This means that those who have surgical wounds or need to breathe through ventilators may be sent to nursing homes to finish recovering. The use of a ventilator or the presence of a surgical wound may make a person prone to infection.

Further complicating matters is that many nursing homes are designed for people who will be there for a long time. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken steps to help long-term nursing homes do a better job of preventing infections. For instance, nursing facilities are required to limit the use of antibiotics and take steps to detect outbreaks as quickly as possible.

If a nursing home resident is injured or dies because of negligence, there may be grounds for a lawsuit. The victim or his or her representative may seek compensation from a nursing home or others that failed to correct dangerous conditions. It may be possible to collect compensation to pay for a victim's medical bills or final expenses. Additional punitive damages may also be available depending on the facts in a case.

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Daniel Pleasant Holoman LLP

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