When it comes to diseases and other health issues that directly affect older Americans in nursing homes, respiratory infections are some of the most common and deadly. Often, the presence of respiratory infection can be a sign of nursing home neglect, and if left unattended and untreated, can lead to death. That’s why it’s important to know the signs of respiratory infections.
Respiratory Infections in Nursing Homes
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, respiratory infections make up one-third of all nursing home infections and thirty-three out of every 1000 residents will become infected with pneumonia. Typically, respiratory infections result from bacterial or viral illnesses which can then be easily passed between residents and staff. When the infections are left untreated, they quickly develop into serious illness like pneumonia.
Common Causes & Signs
The most common diagnoses identified as the cause of respiratory illnesses are C. pneumonia, the flu, parainfluenza virus, pneumococci, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Tuberculosis is also a common threat to elder Americans with 57% of all tuberculosis deaths being people over the age of fifty.
The symptoms of respiratory infections range from mild to more serious, but mild symptoms can worsen and become a larger and less treatable illness. Some common symptoms that should be treated are increased mucus secretion, coughing, ear inflammation, fatigue, post-nasal drip, sinus pain, wheezing, and swollen lymph nodes.
Why This is Important
This is important to know because the persistence of respiratory infections or their regularity could be a sign of nursing home neglect. Part of neglect is poor hygiene and medical care neglect, both of which can lead to a greater risk of infection and therefore a greater likelihood of respiratory infection. Knowing the signs and being aware of your own or a loved one’s health is key to avoiding serious respiratory illness. It’s also important to pay attention to the cleanliness standards in nursing homes, changes in your loved one’s health, and how the nursing home responds to and treats common symptoms – all of which can help you identify whether neglect is occurring or not.
Respiratory infections can start out mild and be easily treated, but if ignored, they can become very serious. Know the signs and symptoms of respiratory infections so you can help ensure infections are treated promptly and properly and reduce the prevalence of neglect and the risk of death.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect, call Gharibian Law (877-875-1119) today for a free consultation and the best legal representation.