Sepsis Awareness Month: What You Can Do to Protect Your Loved One in a Nursing Home

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September is Sepsis Awareness Month. This common infection leads to one death every two minutes—that’s more than the deaths attributed to prostate cancer, breast cancer, and AIDS combined. Sepsis is often a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect, but there are several steps you can take to protect your loved one.

Speak Up

The following are just a few signs of improper nursing home care that could place your loved one at risk of sepsis:

  • Allowing residents to remain in unwashed linens or clothing
  • Failing to treat bedsores and cuts
  • Not cleaning and disinfecting bathrooms or common areas
  • Caregivers who fail to wash their hands when tending to residents

If you notice improper care, bring the issue to the attention of the facility manager immediately—even if your loved one currently seems healthy. Nursing homes often have high staff turnover and a proactive approach is the best way to minimize the risk that untrained or inexperienced caregivers pose to residents.

Know the Signs

Sepsis is an adverse reaction to bacteria or fungal infection within the body. The body overreacts to the normal infection-fighting chemicals released into the bloodstream, prompting an extreme inflammatory response. This creates the potential for blood clots, reduced oxygen supply to vital organs, and life-threatening septic shock.

Nursing home residents are vulnerable to sepsis due to their weakened immune systems and propensity to develop bedsores, cuts, and urinary tract infections. Signs of sepsis include:

  • Fever
  • Chills or shaking
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fast breathing
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Rashes, swelling, or skin discoloration
  • Unexplained joint pain
  • Trouble urinating

Insist on Immediate Treatment

Sepsis is a medical emergency. If your loved one shows signs of sepsis, he or she needs to be taken to the nearest ER for antibiotics and IV fluids. Close monitoring is necessary to prevent complications. If the nursing home won’t take action, call 911.      

Consider Taking Legal Action

If your loved one has experienced sepsis due to improper nursing home care, Gray & White Law can help. Our dedicated attorneys can advocate for your loved one’s rights and help to ensure that other vulnerable seniors are not forced to endure the same suffering. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.