Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. It is most commonly spread in health care facilities, including nursing homes and hospitals.
Nursing home care providers should be hyper-vigilant to following MRSA precautions and be attentive to early signs of potential infections. If MRSA goes undetected, it can spread quickly amongst a nursing home’s population and cause long-term complications, including death.
Have you or a loved one suffered consequences from a California nursing home’s failure to prevent, recognize, or address an MRSA infection? Learn about your legal options by contacting Peck Law Group at 866-999-9085 or premierlegal.org/evaluation/.
How Does MRSA Spread?
MRSA most often enters the body through a cut or other wound. In nursing home populations, it is also frequently associated with hospitalization, surgery, or invasive medical devices such as IVs, catheters, or artificial joints. MRSA can spread quickly amongst elderly individuals and people living in close quarters.
There are many ways MRSA can enter a nursing home. New residents moving in, residents returning from a hospital stay, staff, and visitors can all introduce the bacteria to the facility.
Carriers of MRSA can spread the bacteria without getting infected themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two in every 100 people carry MRSA bacteria in their nose, though most do not develop serious MRSA infections.
How to Prevent the Spread of MRSA
Good hygiene is the most important element of preventing MRSA infection. Nursing home health care providers should:
- Wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer before and after caring for each resident.
- Wear gloves, gowns, and other personal protective equipment when appropriate.
- Thoroughly disinfect residents’ rooms, medical equipment, and shared living spaces.
- Ensure proper disposal of single-use items, and properly clean and disinfect linens and items that come into contact with blood, bodily fluids, etc.
- Use contact precautions for residents with confirmed or suspected MRSA infections.
- Keep wounds clean, dry, and covered until they heal.
- Discourage residents from sharing personal toiletry items.
- Regularly bathe residents.
Early detection and treatment are critical to preventing an elderly person’s MRSA infection from escalating and causing severe health problems. When signs and symptoms are recognized early on, it also gives nursing facilities the opportunity to isolate residents and take additional precautions during treatment.
Signs and symptoms that nursing home staff should watch for include:
- A warm, red bump on the skin that looks like a pimple or an insect bite. As the wound progresses, it may fill with pus and be warm to the touch.
- Surgical sites or wounds that swell, do not heal, or become increasingly painful.
When a nursing home fails to follow MRSA precautions, the consequences can be deadly. The infection can spread to the bloodstream, lungs, heart, other organs, bones, and joints. Complications like pneumonia, sepsis and blood infections can cause long-term damage or death.
Where to Turn for Help
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious MRSA infection due to nursing negligence, you may be able to recover damages for medical costs and other expenses through a lawsuit.
Peck Law Group has recovered millions of dollars in damages for California victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Call 866-999-9085 or fill out our online form to get started with a free case evaluation.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.