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New Patients are Bringing Superbugs into Illinois Nursing Homes

Keeping nursing homes clean goes a long way to protecting the safety of the residents who call them home. This means that germs and bacteria must be kept at bay to prevent infection and illness in patients and to control any that already exists. But a new study suggests that treating a facility itself may not be addressing the whole issue as new patients may be bringing germs into these long term care facilities upon their arrival.

The study was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Internal Medicine and was conducted by researchers of the University of Michigan. They found that nearly one out of four hospital patients who were discharged to a nursing home, rehabilitation center, or hospice facility had some type of drug-resistant germs on their hands, often referred to as “superbugs.” These superbugs enter Illinois nursing homes, among other long term care facilities in our state, where they have the opportunity to spread to other patients, staff members, and even visitors to the facility.

Prior studies have focused on the use of hospital equipment and medical personnel in the spread of superbugs but this new information suggests that taking simple steps with patients themselves may help to contain these contaminants. Merely encouraging patients to wash their hands thoroughly prior to discharge from a hospital, again upon admission to a post-acute care facility, and regularly during their stay at a nursing home could limit the spread of these superbugs.

While 24 percent of discharged patients had a superbug on their hands at the time they left the hospital, a follow up review determined that 34.2 percent of patients had a superbug on their hands, illustrating the fact that nursing home patients are at a very high risk for the spread of superbugs and potentially for consequences related to an infection or disease caused by those bugs. Of those with the bugs on their hands at the follow up check, two-thirds still had superbugs on them at the time of their discharge which suggests that not enough is being done in nursing homes to address these contaminants and to eliminate them from patients’ hands.

Obtaining an infection while a resident of a nursing home may be a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect, especially if sanitary practices were not followed in the home, allowing germs to grow and/or spread. Infections can cause serious damage to those with weakened immune systems and other comorbidities who may be less able to fight infections, potentially leading to an aggravation of preexisting conditions, sepsis, or even death.

If you have questions about the care and treatment your loved one received in a Chicago nursing home, call the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let our team provide you with a case consultation. There is no obligation and no cost to you when you call us and we have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can reach us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 where your concerns will be heard, your questions answered, and everything discussed will be kept confidential.

Call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us help your loved one seek the relief they deserve.

Prior Blog Entry:

Sepsis in an Illinois Nursing Home: What You Can Do, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published March 9, 2016.


Patients Carry Superbugs on Their Hands, Study Finds, by Maggie Fox, NBC News, published March 14, 2016.

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