After Surviving Sepsis, an Elderly Loved One May Experience Post-Sepsis Syndrome

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woman resting posts sepsis in Kentucky nursing homeYour loved one survived the dangerous sepsis infection she got while living in a nursing home. While the sepsis infection is cured, your loved one still suffers long-term sepsis-related health problems. Many sepsis patients who continue to suffer from physical or psychological problems after successful sepsis treatment may be suffering from post-sepsis syndrome.

What is Post-Sepsis Syndrome?

According to the non-profit organization Sepsis Alliance, as many as 50% of sepsis survivors suffer from post-sepsis syndrome. Post-sepsis syndrome affects sepsis survivors differently and may include physical symptoms and conditions, such as:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Mobility issues
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swollen limbs
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Vision changes
  • Frequent infections
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Difficulty concentrating or trouble with cognitive functioning

Additionally, post-sepsis syndrome may include psychologist symptoms and conditions, such as:

  • Insomnia, trouble sleeping, and nightmares
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Mood swings

Anyone who has had sepsis can have post-sepsis syndrome. However, researchers have found that post-sepsis syndrome is more common in people who:

  • Were treated in ICU
  • Had extended hospital stays
  • Are older adults

Sometimes the cause of post-sepsis syndrome is known. For example, if sepsis caused internal organ damage, tissue death, or amputation, then it is easy to see why continuing health problems would occur. However, in other cases, the cause of post-sepsis syndrome is not as easy to determine. For example, many sepsis survivors continue to suffer from fatigue and chronic pain even if there was no organ damage, tissue death, or amputation.

Post-Sepsis Syndrome Treatment

Currently, there is no known cure for post-sepsis syndrome, but there is treatment available for the specific problems your loved one faces.

First, it is critical that you work with a doctor who knows about post-sepsis syndrome and who can help you coordinate care from different providers. Depending on your loved one’s specific post-sepsis syndrome symptoms, your loved one may benefit from:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Neurorehabilitation
  • Medications
  • Psychological counseling
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Neuropsychiatric care

Additionally, your loved one must take good care of herself with proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and support from nursing home staff.

Who Pays for Post-Sepsis Syndrome Treatment and Losses?

The costs of post-sepsis treatment and care are often high. Your loved one who is living on a fixed income can be financially ruined by the medical expenses and other financial losses associated with post-sepsis syndrome.

However, sometimes, sepsis is caused by nursing home negligence. Nursing homes have a duty to provide reasonable care to all nursing home residents. This duty includes preventing sepsis infections, to the extent possible, by:

  • Preventing underlying infections from occurring. Sepsis occurs from underlying infections, such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and other infections. Sepsis, and in turn post-sepsis syndrome, can be avoided if nursing home staff use reasonable infection-control procedures to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Quickly recognizing sepsis symptoms. The sooner a person is treated for sepsis, the easier it may be to treat sepsis and prevent post-sepsis syndrome.

If your loved one suffered sepsis because of nursing home negligence, the nursing home may be responsible for paying for all of your loved one’s damages. Damages include all of the costs related to post-sepsis syndrome, including but not limited to:

  • Medical expenses including hospital stays, medications, rehabilitation therapies, psychological counseling, and other costs
  • Pain and suffering including your loved one’s physical pain, psychological pain, and emotional suffering
  • Additional costs including any changes in living arrangements or out-of-pocket expenses

Your family should not have to bear the burden of these costs if nursing home negligence caused your loved one’s sepsis. Instead, the nursing home should pay these damages, but you will likely have to fight to get the damages your loved one deserves in a sepsis lawsuit.

Our experienced sepsis nursing home injury lawyers can help you every step of the way. Call us today for a free and confidential case evaluation and to learn more about how you can help your loved one recover from post-sepsis syndrome.

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