Older adults who live in nursing homes often require quite a bit of support. They are at risk of falls and infections because their immune systems don’t work as well as they once did. Those in nursing homes are not only at higher risk of contracting illnesses, like the flu, but they may also have a harder time recovering from infections when they occur. The residents are also dependent on staff to keep the facilities where they live clean, partially to minimize the risk that disease will spread within a given facility.
As if the standard illnesses that people commonly carry aren’t concerning enough, there have recently been reports of a deadly fungal infection across the United States, including right here in Florida. This infection may kill people, and those in nursing homes are at particular risk of contracting it and suffering ill effects if/when they do.
What is the infection?
A specific fungus or yeast infection has spread rapidly in recent months. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has even issued a warning about the risk. The spread of candida auris has led to hundreds of severe infections around the country in recent months. Florida has seen a relatively high number of cases spreading in hospitals and nursing homes.
What is particularly concerning about candida auris is that the infection kills between 30 and 60% of the people who contract it. That means, with hundreds of reported cases in the Sunshine State, dozens of people could potentially die. Those who already have compromised immune systems, like many of the people in nursing homes, are at especially high risk for severe infection.
The CDC notes that person-to-person contact can spread the infection, although its introduction to the bloodstream through broken skin often leads to the fastest and most aggressive infections.
Nursing home workers who are spread thin may not clean enough
There’s a reason why infections and infestations spread so quickly in nursing homes. Yes, population density is a factor, but proper sanitation practices would significantly reduce the likelihood of illnesses and infestation spreading from one resident to another.
When facilities do not have enough staff on hand, workers may not be able to properly clean them while also providing direct care for residents. Connecting someone’s serious fungal infection with poor sanitation practices could lead to a nursing home neglect claim. Speaking with an experienced legal professional can help to clarify when such claims may be justified.