If your elderly loved one resides in a San Diego nursing home and requires antibiotics for a bacterial infection, can you trust that your loved one is receiving the proper medication? According to a report from Kaiser Health News, “antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly to ailing nursing home residents up to 75 percent of the time,” based on data gathered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When seniors are not provided with the right antibiotics, the antibiotics can lose their effectiveness, leading those same seniors to develop serious and life-threatening conditions at a later date when those antibiotics no longer function as they should. Do these medication errors rise to the level of nursing home abuse or neglect? What can you do to help your elderly parent to avoid contracting a superbug at a nursing facility in Southern California?
Learning More About the Rise of Superbugs in Nursing Homes
As the article explains, just about one year ago, the CDC advised nursing homes across the country that they needed to take immediate action “to protect more than 4 million residents from hard-to-treat superbugs that are growing in number and resist antibiotics.” Elderly people in California nursing homes are particularly vulnerable to superbugs because their immune systems are not as strong as they once were. As the CDC has emphasized, “one way to keep older Americans safe from these superbugs is to make sure antibiotics are used appropriately all the time and everywhere, particularly in nursing homes.”
In nursing homes in California and across the country, researchers estimate the antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately a startling amount of the time—anywhere from 40% to 75% of cases in nursing facilities. Sometimes these inappropriately prescribed antibiotics are prescribed to treat viral infections, like a common cold or the flu, when an antibiotic simply cannot treat such an illness. When this happens, the patient can develop antibiotic resistance. In addition, taking antibiotics when they are unnecessary can “wipe out a body’s good infection-fighting bacteria along with the bad.” When this happens, serious infections can affect many nursing home patients, and these illnesses can even result in death.
As one medical professional explained, nursing home physicians often worry about what might happen if they do not prescribe an antibiotic for an elderly patient, “but giving antibiotics can be just as harmful as not.”
Attempts to Eradicate Superbugs in Nursing Facilities and Hospitals
What steps can be taken at this point to reduce the number of superbugs that could cause serious harm to elderly Californians? While experts continue to emphasize the need to develop better approaches to antibiotics in nursing homes, there is also a need to combat the spread of antibiotic-resistance bacteria in hospitals when elderly patients require care at such facilities. According to a recent discussion from Kaiser Health News, hospitals are investing in disposable scopes that will help to limit the spread of bacteria from one patient to another.
For many seniors who reside in nursing facilities, though, one of the keys to preventing deadly infections is through better attention to antibiotic prescribing methods. Many elder safety advocates agree that medical errors can indeed rise to the level of nursing home neglect, and elder neglect can lead to severe and even fatal injuries.
Contact a San Diego Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer
If you have questions about filing a nursing home neglect claim, an experienced San Diego nursing home neglect attorney can assist you. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to get started on your case.
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(image courtesy of DIOS1212AMOR)