Important Facts about C Diff in Missouri Nursing Homes: The What, How, Why You Need to Know
C diff, or Clostridium difficile, is a bacteria that can rapidly spread in a Missouri nursing home due to nursing home neglect and lack of proper hygiene. C diff is a known risk for residents who are taking antibiotics or anti-microbial medications. In fact, government research shows that the most common and vulnerable population are individuals who have frequent antibiotic exposure and are already prone to infection due to advanced age. There are approximately 500,000 C diff infections in the United States each year resulting in painful and debilitating symptoms. But more than just a painful and debilitating problem, it can also be a deadly infection. The CDC reports that approximately 29,000 Americans die each year from a C diff infection, and 80% of those deaths were people aged 65 years or older.
This makes long term care facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitations centers, and similar facilities a prime place for C diff infections to develop and rapidly spread. If your loved one in one of these facilities was diagnosed with a C diff infection, or unexpectedly died due to a C diff infection, have our St. Louis nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer review your case.
What is C Diff?
C diff is a bacteria that causes diarrhea and colitis. Colitis is an inflammation of the colon and can be very painful. The symptoms of C diff are diarrhea, fever, stomach pain, stomach tenderness, loss of appetite, nausea, and related symptoms. C diff is commonly caused by the use of antibiotics as people on antibiotics are 7 to 10 times more likely to get a C diff infection while the antibiotics or during the month after.
Risk Factors for C diff = Being a Resident in a Nursing Home
The risk factors for C diff are basically being a resident in a nursing home, rehabilitation center, long term care facility, or other related place. This is because the most common risks factors according to the CDC are the following:
- Over 65 years old;
- Complicated medical care and extends stay in a healthcare facilities such as a hospital or nursing home;
- Use of antibiotics;
- A weakened immune system; and
- Prior C diff infection or known exposure.
How Missouri Nursing Homes Spread C Diff
C diff infections can quickly, aggressively, and dangerously spread through any type of healthcare facility such as a nursing home. C diff is a prolific bacteria that can spread rapidly when nursing homes fail to use basic hygiene precautions. For example, if someone with C diff does not use soap when washing their hands in the bathroom the C diff bacteria will survive a washing with water alone and spread to everything that this individual touches. Since many nursing home residents are cared for my staff members, it is critically important for staff members to wash their hands thoroughly and with soap between residents. Unfortunately, nursing homes don’t adequately train their employees on the importance of washing hands and, as a result, far too few employees actually wash their hands between residents.
Outside the body C diff bacteria becomes “spores,” which the CDC says can survive for months or even years on certain surfaces. Once it spreads it can be very difficult to control and eliminate until it has “run its course.” However, that usually means intense suffering or the wrongful death of residents.
C diff can spread rapidly when a nursing home fails to to identify, diagnose, treat, and sanitize a resident and fails to take proper hygiene precautions. This failure is negligence by a nursing home in the failure to keep their facility in a reasonably safe condition and a failure to reasonably and properly treat residents.
The most common ways that C diff infections are caused by Missouri nursing home abuse and neglect include the following:
- Failing to monitor the most at-risk residents for a C diff infection;
- Neglecting to keep residents in good hygiene with routine baths, thorough hand washing, cleaning linens and clothing, and otherwise ensure residents are well-groomed;
- Failing to properly clean the facilities to kill infectious disease like C diff, including using bleach in cleaners, special germ killing wipes, and otherwise properly sanitizing the facility especially bathrooms;
- Failing to separate residents infected with C diff from the larger population;
- Neglecting to refer a resident with serious C diff infection for treatment at a hospital;
- Not maintaining proper hygiene or sanitary procedures with staff (i.e., wearing globes, washing hands with soap);
- Improperly training staff or hiring staff without knowledge of C diff infections and how to identify and treat it;
- Failing to prevent and combat dehydration in residents by not providing adequate fluids;
- Understaffing to help sanitize and care for residents in a nursing home;
- Failing to properly treat a resident’s wounds to prevent the spread of C diff to an open cut; and
- Many other reasons.
Has a Loved One Suffered from a C Diff Infection in a Missouri Nursing Home? Call our St. Louis Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer
When a C diff infection spreads through a nursing home it is usually more than just the bacteria that is the problem. Staff need to be constantly monitoring residents for the signs of infections to ensure that they are not unknowingly spreading C diff to other residents. Frequently a prolific C diff infection that spreads through a nursing home is a sign of a larger issue at the facility, such as understaffing, improper training, careless staff, weak management, and just negligent conduct. If you suffered from a C diff infection while at a Missouri nursing home, or if you lost a loved one in a Missouri nursing home due to a C diff infection, please call our experienced St. Louis nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer at the Terry Law Firm by failing (314) 334-1441 to learn how we can help you today.