Study Looks at Nursing Home Norovirus Outbreak Complications

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Researchers at the University Of Chicago Pritzker School Of Medicine recently looked at two years’ worth of data to determine what the effect of a norovirus outbreak may mean for a nursing home. 

According to the analysis, norovirus outbreaks in nursing homes may increase the rates of hospital admissions and deaths for residents. Specifically, researchers found that hospital admission rates rose by about nine percent and fatalities rose by about 11% in nursing homes after norovirus outbreaks. The researchers found that nursing home residents in facilities with less than three quarters of an hour of registered nursing time per resident per day were at increased risk of dying during a norovirus outbreak. 

Researchers caution that the analysis suggests, but does not yet prove, that norovirus outbreaks may cause increased hospital admission rates and deaths. For example, it may not only be the norovirus that is dangerous for nursing home residents but it may also be changes in the pattern of care given to all residents when some are sick with the norovirus. Sick residents may need more care than usual—for example, and sick staff members who contract the virus may need to stay home. These things may make it more difficult to care for patients who do not have the virus. Researchers now suggest that research be done to see if there is a direct connection between the norovirus outbreaks, hospital admission rates, and deaths. 

The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and funding for the study was supported by the CDC. Our Louisville nursing home injury lawyers hope that area nursing homes stay free of norovirus outbreaks this winter and that residents who do become ill recover quickly.

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