Nursing Home Infection Rates Increase

Infections are now the number one cause of deaths in nursing homes, causing nearly 400,000 deaths annually.
A study published in the May issue of The America Journal of Infection Control reports that 15% of American nursing homes each year receive deficiency citations for infection control.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, looked at deficiency data collected from about 16,000 nursing homes per year between 2000 to 2007 as part of Medicare/Medicaid certification.
The researchers reported that there appeared to be a strong correlation between low staffing levels at nursing homes and infection control deficiency citations.
A major cause of these infection rates is Clostridium difficile infection (CDI, also known as C. diff), particularly if the residents are elderly and taking antibiotics for another infection. CDI is an infection that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions It can even be fatal. CDI is most commonly seen in nursing home residents and hospital patients.
Clostridium difficile bacteria are found in the feces of an infected person. Other people can become infected if they touch items or surfaces that are contaminated with the bacteria and then touch their mouth.
CDI can be treated by a healthcare provider with a 10-day course of antibiotics that specifically treats CDI. More serious cases of CDI may require hospitalization or surgery.
CDI can be prevented by washing hands with soap and warm water. Patients in hospitals and residents in nursing homes should wash their hands very often and try to avoid touching surfaces, especially in bathrooms.
This simple preventative measure can prevent pain, suffering and even death among nursing home residents.

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