Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Chicago, IL

What To Know About MRSA in Nursing Homes

Nursing home resident in a bed with a MRSA infection. 594710534

Nursing home residents often have weakened immune systems due to age and chronic health conditions, making them less able to fight off infections. Additionally, close living quarters can make it easier for bacteria to spread through personal contact and shared use of facilities. All of these factors put residents at a higher risk of exposure to MRSA.

What is MRSA?

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. It is a strain of the common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which normally resides on the skin and in the nasal passages of healthy individuals without causing any problems. However, when it enters the body through cuts, abrasions, or other breaches in the skin, it can cause infections.

The “methicillin-resistant” aspect of MRSA refers to its resistance to methicillin, a common antibiotic traditionally used to treat Staphylococcus infections. MRSA has also shown resistance to other antibiotics, such as penicillin and amoxicillin.

Residents who become infected with MRSA can become seriously ill and often need extensive treatment in the hospital. In some cases, MRSA can be fatal.

How does MRSA spread in nursing homes?

There are several key factors for MRSA transmission in nursing home facilities:

  • Direct Contact: MRSA can spread from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact. This includes touching the infected wounds, sores, or other body areas carrying the bacteria.
  • Indirect Contact via Contaminated Surfaces and Objects: The bacteria can survive on surfaces and objects for extended periods. Common touchpoints include door handles, bed rails, medical equipment, and personal care items like towels and razors.
  • Shared Facilities: Bathrooms, common dining areas, and recreational spaces can become places where MRSA spreads, especially if regular cleaning and disinfection protocols are not carefully followed.
  • Poor Hand Hygiene: Inadequate handwashing practices by staff, residents, or visitors can make it easier for MRSA to spread.
  • Invasive Devices: The use of catheters, intravenous lines, and other medical devices can increase susceptibility to MRSA infections.

How can nursing homes protect residents from MRSA?

Nursing homes have a critical responsibility to protect residents from MRSA infections, given the vulnerability of their population and the potential severity of such infections. Their responsibilities include:

  • Infection Control Protocols: This includes strict hygiene practices, such as regular and thorough handwashing by staff, residents, and visitors, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling wounds or when in contact with bodily fluids.
  • Regular Screening and Monitoring: Nursing homes should conduct regular screenings for MRSA among residents and staff, particularly when new residents are admitted.
  • Environmental Cleanliness: It is very important to maintain cleanliness and sanitation throughout the facility. This involves regular cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and equipment that are frequently touched, such as bed rails, doorknobs, bathrooms, and medical devices.
  • Isolation Practices: Residents with MRSA should be isolated as recommended by health guidelines to prevent the spread to other residents.
  • Staff Training: All nursing home staff should receive ongoing training on infection prevention practices, recognizing the signs of MRSA infections, and the proper procedures to follow if an outbreak occurs.

Can a nursing home resident file a lawsuit if they become infected with MRSA?

Yes, a resident or their family may be able to sue the facility if they contracted MRSA due to nursing home negligence. This could occur if the nursing home failed to implement proper hygiene protocols, adequately separate infected residents, or provide sufficient staffing for proper care. To win a lawsuit, they would need to prove the nursing home’s negligence directly caused the MRSA infection and resulted in harm to the resident.

Talk to an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer

Nursing homes often dispute lawsuits and may refuse to accept responsibility for what happened. That’s why you need an experienced nursing home neglect attorney to fight for you. Ferrell Young, LLC in Chicago can help.

Our attorneys fight for the rights of residents who have suffered due to nursing home neglect. We know how to fight back against nursing homes, their insurance companies, and their lawyers who try to minimize your claim. If you or a loved one suffered from a MRSA infection at a nursing home facility, we can guide you through the legal process.

Learn about your legal options and get your questions answered. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation.

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