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Systemic Neglect in Nursing Homes Fuels Spread of Fatal Fungi

In recent years, the federal government and various news media sources have been shining a critical spotlight on American nursing homes. As horrifying reports and updated statistics continue to spread, families across the country are learning to recognize what actions constitute elder abuse and neglect. As a result, victims and surviving family members are working with qualified attorneys to fight the “silent epidemic” and protect America’s most vulnerable citizens.

The Consequences of Neglect

Families need to do their research before admitting a resident into a facility. For example, it’s best to avoid a nursing home with poor online reviews or a history of newsworthy incidents. Also, once a resident has been admitted, the family needs to visit often and at unscheduled times to “check in” and make sure their loved one is safe.

It can be challenging to recognize the emotional and physical repercussions associated with elder neglect. To no surprise, it’s far easier to notice the signs of physical abuse, which can range from unexplained bruises to broken bones to head injuries. 

The following symptoms can be indicators of elder neglect:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Pneumonia
  • Bed sores
  • Poor hygiene
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Dirty clothing
  • Medication injuries
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Missing medical aids
  • Cluttered living area
  • Lack of necessities

Many residents in long-term care facilities rely on staffers for their daily needs. Unfortunately, these residents may not have the mobility or cognitive awareness to counter acts of neglect. Only their families and friends can protect them from the ongoing and fatal harms associated with nursing home negligence.

Candida Auris; A Drug-Resistant Threat

Earlier this month, the New York Times published an article about the latest threat to nursing home residents: Candida auris, a highly contagious and drug-resistant fungus. This yeast-like fungus has infected approximately 800 people since it arrived in the United States four years ago. Tragically, over 57% of these patients died within 90 days of contamination. 

As the article explains, nursing homes have “played a key role in the spread in New York, where 396 people are known to be infected and another 496 are carrying the germ without showing symptoms” and “In Chicago, half of patients living on dedicated ventilator floors in the city’s skilled nursing homes are infected with or harboring C. auris on their bodies.”

Nursing home management and staffers are equally responsible for this deadly outbreak. The average nursing home is understaffed, underfunded, and ill equipped to manage infection control. Worse, most staffers are inexperienced, untrained, and benefit from a lack of managerial oversight. In other words, sick and elderly residents are not receiving the care and medical attention their respective conditions warrant.

There is also another factor to consider: The fungus continues to spread because nursing homes are failing to take basic preventative measures, such as posting warnings, cleaning rooms, or providing staffers with hand sanitizer, disposable gowns, and latex gloves. Consequently, this fungus is spreading from person to person and object to person.

If a resident shows signs of contamination, they may be transported to a hospital or emergency room, even though there is no cure for Candida auris. By the time the resident is sent back to the nursing home, still infected, they may have contaminated countless doctors, patients, residents, staffers, family members, and so on.

The signs of infection include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Sepsis
  • Ear infections
  • Bloodstream infections
  • Organ failure
  • Coma

Has Your Elderly Loved One Contracted Candida Auris at a Nursing Home?

Contact the nursing home abuse attorneys at Pratt Clay, LLC if your loved one has contracted a fatal illness or disease due to the actions of negligent staffers. Our legal team can investigate the facility, consult with medical specialists, and help you pursue damages that provide for your loved one’s ongoing care.

We’ve recovered over $80 million on behalf of our clients. Contact Pratt Clay, LLC at (404) 998-5258 to schedule a consultation today.