Lawyers For Nursing Home Infections in Los Angeles, CA
Infections can be a dangerous problem in skilled nursing facilities. Even at the best nursing homes, elderly residents could contract an infection. Some estimates indicate that up to 3.8 million infections occur in nursing homes annually, with almost 388,000 cases resulting in death. If you find yourself in need of a nursing home infections lawyer in Los Angeles, our experienced personal injury lawyer at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP, may be able to help you. We offer decades of experience advocating for those who have suffered elder abuse or neglect.
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Symptoms of Infections in Elderly Nursing Home Residents
According to the Arizona Center on Aging, infections can be blamed for one-third of fatalities in adults who are age sixty-five or older. With the increasing population of older adults, cases of infectious diseases among the elderly are also rising. Prevention and early detection of these infections can be critical, but many older adults present an absence of typical symptoms or only nonspecific symptoms. In particular, fever is one common sign of infection that can make diagnosis much easier. Unfortunately, this symptom is often absent in 30-50% of frail elders, even in cases where they have significant infections. If your loved one is suffering from an infection at a nursing home, contact our infection attorney in Los Angeles for help.
Nonspecific symptoms that may be seen in older adults suffering from infections include:
- Anorexia and/or decreased oral intake
Carefully watching for symptoms can be a key step in detecting infections in older adults, particularly those with cognitive impairments. Patients who suffer from dementia or other cognitive impairments are often unable to communicate information clearly regarding their symptoms.
Los Angeles Nursing Home Infections Lawyer Near Me 310-844-9696
What Types of Infections Are Common in Nursing Homes?
Infections are not uncommon among nursing home residents. Some of the most common infections that can affect older adults include:
Failure to exhibit typical symptoms can be particularly challenging when it comes to community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) because this infection occurs so often among older adults. Pneumonia is the sixth most common cause of death in Americans. A staggering 90% of those deaths are estimated to kill individuals sixty-five years of age or older. One study reported that acute confusion or delirium was present in nearly half of older adults with CAP; therefore, it is critical that you be alert to this symptom.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) commonly occur among older adults in nursing homes because they often use catheters or incontinence products and have decreased mobility. Older adults do not always show the usual symptoms of pain and burning with urination that many younger adults experience. Some of the signs that elderly patients with UTIs may exhibit include:
- Altered mental status
- Decreased appetite
- Immobility and/or falls
- New onset of urinary incontinence
- Unexplained behavior changes
- Unexplained weight loss
Some patients may have already experienced urinary incontinence, which puts them at a potentially greater risk of suffering an acute UTI.
The CDC defines sepsis as “the body’s extreme response to an infection.” This serious condition results from an existing infection that then kicks off a chain reaction of systemic issues. Sepsis can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death. Older adults are at a greater risk of developing sepsis because of poor nutrition, decreased immobility, increased prevalence of invasive procedures, and residence in long-term care facilities.
Clostridium Difficile Infection
Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) is a bacteria that can lead to a serious inflammation of the colon called colitis. While its symptoms range from mild to severe, it can potentially be deadly. Older adults who are long-term care facility residents, who have had recent gastrointestinal surgery or antibiotic exposure, or who have significant underlying medical conditions are at a greater risk of developing this infection.
Symptoms to watch for in older adults include anything from several unformed stools each day to extreme and bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps/pain, abdominal distention, fever, and a higher count of white blood cells.
Subacute Infective Endocarditis
Subacute infective endocarditis (IE) is an infection where germs and/or bacteria attack the lining of the heart valves. This condition occurs more often in men than women and leads to the development of growths on the heart valves known as vegetations. These growths may damage the valves, leading to holes that can spread the infection beyond the heart and blood vessels.
IE also affects older adults more often due to preexisting cardiac valve disease, a higher use of prosthetic cardiac valves, increasing life spans in patients with rheumatic heart valve disorders, and a higher incidence of procedures. If left untreated, IE leads to death.
Cellulitis is a common and painful skin infection that often plagues older adults as a natural part of aging. It reaches into the deeper areas of skin layers and even the fat beneath, usually occurring as a result of bacteria penetrating through a cut or other type of opening. In addition to pain, cellulitis can also cause redness, swelling, blisters, dimples, and expansion over time. Keeping skin soft and supple to prevent breakage when possible is one of the best rules of thumb to help avoid cellulitis. Once developed, cellulitis requires prompt attention. The development of chills, fever, or lymph node swelling may require emergency medical treatment.
When Does an Infection Rise to the Level of Elder Abuse or Neglect?
According to California Welfare & Institutions Code § 15610, elder abuse affects those sixty-five years of age or older. Elder abuse involves neglect, physical or financial abuse, isolation, abandonment, abduction, or other treatment that causes harm, pain, or mental suffering to an elder. A care custodian failing to provide sufficient goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering can also constitute elder abuse. Exercising undue influence over an elderly person is also considered elder abuse.
California law defines elder neglect as any time a caregiver fails to assist with an older adult’s personal hygiene; fails to provide food, clothing, or shelter; or fails to protect an older adult from health and safety hazards.
If a serious infection has resulted after a nursing home failed to provide appropriate assistance with personal hygiene care or protect elders from health and safety hazards, this potentially could constitute elder abuse or neglect. A lawyer for nursing home infections in Los Angeles may be able to assist in seeking legal restitution in such cases.
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Contact a Nursing Home Infections Attorney in Los Angeles, CA
The experienced Los Angeles nursing home abuse attorneys at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP, often advocate for clients seeking justice after they or their loved ones have experienced elder neglect or abuse. Consulting with an infection lawyer for a nursing home in Los Angeles may help you decide whether or not to pursue a lawsuit. We may be able to help you win the justice you deserve. Contact us online or call (310) 844-9696 to schedule a free consultation.