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Outbreaks in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes often contain hundreds of residents, and unfortunately this requires careful attention and precaution to prevent outbreaks. When contagions allowed to spread in nursing homes, fatalities can result. Outbreaks in nursing homes of norovirus, the flu, and other communicable diseases can take the lives of patients and can affect staff safety.

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There are many things that nursing homes can do to prevent outbreaks:

  • Hire and train staff carefully.  All staff should be fully aware of what to do in order to avoid outbreaks and should follow protocols carefully when dealing with patients.
  • Quarantine patients with communicable diseases immediately. Contact with the patients should be carefully monitored so that staff follow proper hygiene before and after contact to prevent spreading the illness. Quarantined patients should be carefully monitored and should be given the right medical attention to help them recover.
  • Wash hands. Washing hands well and often is the best way to prevent the spread of flu and other communicable diseases. Staff should carefully wash their hands regularly, especially before and after working with someone who is ill or injured. In addition, handwashing or sanitizing stations should be available at the nursing home for visitors and visitors should be strongly urged to sanitize their hands regularly.
  • Contact medical professionals when needed. When the flu or another condition occurs, patients may need to moved to a hospital or outside medical care to help handle patient needs and to provide the highest standard of care. Patients should be moved when many are sick and staff can no longer keep up with their needs or when patients become very ill and are in danger. The nursing home should have a protocol to ensure staff know when to call for help.
  • Make it easy for staff to stay home when they are sick. If a staff member is unwell, they should not be around elderly residents who may have compromised immune systems. Nursing home staff policies should allow nursing home staff to take sick days at home without being financially penalized for it.

If a nursing home fails to take precautions such as these and an outbreak occurs, they can be held liable for the damages and losses suffered by residents. If an elderly loved one has been impacted by a nursing home contagion, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation with a Hollywood nursing home abuse attorney.