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Why is sepsis common in nursing homes?

Anyone with an infection can develop the life-threatening condition of sepsis. Given that the immune system weakens as people age, nursing home residents are more likely to contract an infection and increase their risk of sepsis as a result. Without immediate treatment, sepsis can be fatal.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is the body’s severe overreaction to an infection. Instead of fighting off an infection like it’s supposed to, the body’s defense system gets out of control and triggers inflammation. With enough damage to the organs, tissues or respiratory system, sepsis can lead to septic shock.

Nursing home neglect places residents’ health at risk

Generally, everyone is prone to sepsis. However, older adults have weaker immune systems, so they are more prone to infections that can lead to sepsis. Research shows that adults aged 65 and above are more likely to develop infections and that risk increases when they are nursing home residents.

Unfortunately, nursing homes may be helping sepsis to progress or accelerate the spread of infection when they neglect their residents. When nursing homes fail to provide adequate medical treatment and disregard the personal hygiene of residents, they put the residents’ health at risk.

Sepsis itself is not contagious, but the infections that cause it can be. Some effective ways to prevent infections are practicing proper hygiene, cleaning wounds and separating the sick from those who are not. The risk of death from sepsis increases with every hour it remains undiagnosed, so there is no room for carelessness.

If a loved one develops sepsis as a resident, it could be a sign that nursing home neglect or abuse is happening. They need to see a doctor immediately. However, medical treatment for sepsis can amount to hundreds to thousands of dollars. Pursuing legal action may make it possible to hold the nursing home responsible for those expenses.