Nursing Home Justice Blog
Contrary to their purpose, negligent nursing homes could cause several residents to lose their lives in different ways. It’s vital for each nursing home to take precaution when caring for residents with compromised mobility, weakened immune systems, and cognitive decline. If they don’t, death can occur. Here’s more on the causes of death in nursing homes.
While falls are a worldwide issue resulting in 600,000 deaths annually, they remain one of the leading causes of death in nursing homes. One study revealed that about half of nursing home residents suffer a fall at least once each year.
Many factors contribute to falls, but the main reason for nursing home residents is old age. As residents age, their bodies deteriorate, and they lose mobility. Additionally, older residents often experience cognitive decline, which decreases reaction time and limits their ability to prevent them from falling.
Other external circumstances could put residents at high fall risk, including cluttered rooms, medication side effects, improper footwear, poor lighting, and more. A nursing home that fails to provide the necessary fall protection could cause residents to suffer severe injuries and death.
Sepsis is defined as the body’s extreme response to an infection. This life-threatening medical condition has a 50% mortality rate, and a third of hospital residents who die have sepsis. Typically, the body’s immune system fights off the infection. However, sometimes, for reasons unknown, the body’s immune system begins to attack everything rather than just the infection.
Sepsis could result from any infection, such as pneumonia, meningitis, or wound infections. Infections are common in nursing home settings due to a resident’s weakened immune system. However, negligent nursing homes make these infections much worse due to neglect.
Nursing homes might let bedsores and other wounds go days without treatment. These wounds could quickly become infected, increasing the risk of sepsis. Nursing homes must know how to identify sepsis quickly and treat residents immediately. Sepsis could kill a resident within 12 hours if not treated immediately.
At a mortality rate of 55%, pneumonia is the deadliest infection that residents could acquire in a nursing home. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most common. According to one study, pneumonia represents 13-48% of all infections in nursing home settings.
While many preexisting conditions, like the limited ability to cough and chronic infection, contribute to pneumonia, there are ways that the nursing home itself could put residents at a higher risk.
Studies attribute a nursing home’s lack of immunizations, presence of multi-drug resistant organisms, and overuse of antibiotics to the increased risk for pneumonia.
All of the causes of death mentioned above could all be influenced by the abuse and neglect in a nursing home. Approximately 1 in 6 nursing home residents ages 60 and up will experience some form of abuse, whether physical, sexual, or emotional. Since residents are already in a weakened condition, physical abuse could lengthen their recovery time and even contribute to their death.
Nursing home staff may hit, kick, or push residents, causing them to die instantly. In other cases, the consistent abuse might shorten their life span over time. In addition to abuse, nursing home staff members often neglect their residents and fail to provide for their needs, which also could lead to death.
For example, a neglected infection could quickly spread and turn into sepsis, threatening the resident’s life. Additionally, neglected residents are often malnourished, which limits their ability to recover and increases the risk of infections and death. While neglect may not be as direct as a physical assault, it is just as deadly.
The Covid-19 pandemic left its mark on everyone, especially those in nursing homes. The lack of oversight and infection control protocols in nursing homes caused the virus to spread like a wildfire, resulting in over 200,000 deaths. In addition to the high death toll, the fallout of the pandemic has been unbearable as nursing homes suffered a massive drop in employment.
In total, nursing homes lost 210,000 jobs, and 84% of nursing homes face moderate to high staffing shortages. Understaffed nursing homes simply cannot care for every resident’s needs, and the common causes of death listed above become even more likely due to this reality.
When your loved one is in a nursing home, you expect them to recover, not lose their life. There are many reasons why your relative may suffer an untimely death, and it could be the nursing home’s fault.
You need an experienced nursing home abuse attorney to regain respect for your family and recover the compensation you need to move forward. Contact Nursing Home Justice at (970) 493-1866 today to schedule a free consultation.