Infection is a serious problem in both nursing homes and hospitals. Pneumonia, MRSA and sepsis are all too common. These infections are serious and can be deadly—especially in older residents. Infection occurs when the staff fails to consistently implement proper infection control measures to minimize the risk of infection. For example, if the staff fails to wash their hands between patients, or fails to wear a gown or gloves when necessary, or fails to isolate residents who have infections, then infection will likely spread throughout the facility. Infection can also develop in a bedsore or other wound of the resident, which can seriously compromise the resident’s medical status. An infection in a bedsore, if not timely diagnosed and treated, can spread to the bone (called osteomyelitis), which often results in amputation of a limb, especially if the bedsore becomes gangrenous.
It is the staff’s duty to notify the physician of signs and symptoms of an infection so that appropriate treatment orders can be entered. It is also staff’s duty to implement the treatment orders. When staff fails to timely notify the physician of an infection, or fails to timely and consistently implement the treatment orders, the infection can spread and usually results in serious consequences to the patient.