Infections in Colorado Nursing Homes

Many patients in nursing homes have preexisting medical conditions that make them more susceptible to infections, and a nursing home infection lawyer has the knowledge and experience to hold at-fault parties accountable.

Nursing Home Justice and lead attorney Mac Hester are ready to help victims of nursing home infections recover what they deserve.

Contact a nursing home injury lawyer to discuss your claim by calling (303) 775-8128.

What Are Nursing Home Infections?

An infection is the presence of microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites that are not typically present within the body.

Severe infections in nursing homes can result in harm to the individual or even death if the infection spreads to a large portion of the body.

An infection may be located in one small area, such as at the site of an injury, or it may spread throughout the body through the bloodstream, often called sepsis. It can be deadly when an infection spreads to the blood or vital organs.

Common Nursing Home Infections & Their Causes

Unfortunately, infections are common for nursing home residents. As many as two million residents suffer from infections annually, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Some common nursing home infections include:


MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus — a bacterial infection that typically begins when the microorganism enters the body through a sore or cut.

However, it can also be introduced through catheters, breathing tubes, and other external medical equipment and tools.

MRSA is resistant to antibiotics, which makes it very dangerous for the elderly, especially if it enters the bloodstream.

Some symptoms of MRSA include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Chest Pain
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Skin Abscesses
  • Skin that is Warm to the Touch

Treatment for MRSA may involve IV antibiotics and fluids.


Pneumonia is a bacterial or viral infection that causes inflammation in the lungs. Air sacs fill with pus or liquid.

Pneumonia is a significant problem for elderly patients in nursing homes because they often have comorbidities like diabetes or cardiopulmonary disease.

They also often have a smaller lung capacity and are lying down for long periods of time.

Some symptoms of pneumonia include the following:

  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Delirium
  • Shortness of Breath

Treatment for pneumonia typically requires antibiotics and supplemental oxygen for some individuals.

Staph Infection

A staph infection is caused by a type of Staphylococcus bacteria. MRSA is a type of staph infection; however, there are others.

Staph infections often result from eating or drinking something and getting food poisoning.

Some indicators that your food poisoning or other infection is caused by staph include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Dehydration

While food poisoning can quickly resolve for some people, it can be devastating for residents in nursing homes.

Staph and other bacterial infections can quickly become septic if not promptly treated. If a senior or disabled person has sepsis, they can quickly deteriorate.

Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is often caused by bacteria that has been introduced to a nursing home resident’s environment due to negligent medical procedures.

This may include failure to allow seniors to eliminate themselves frequently enough or the use of unsanitary gloves, catheters, and other medical tools.

Some symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Incontinence
  • Behavior Changes
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Worsening Dementia
  • Pain with Urination
  • Blood in the Urine

UTIs require strong antibiotics and often reoccur if prevention measures are not followed.


Influenza, or the flu, is a dangerous viral infection for people in nursing homes.

These individuals often have a weakened immune system and other health problems that make them more susceptible to complications such as pneumonia.

Symptoms of the flu include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sneezing

Influenza requires immediate isolation to prevent transmission to other patients. Residents who have the flu should receive plenty of fluids and other medications to mitigate symptoms.


Covid 19 is a considerable risk in nursing homes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that people over the age of 65 are at a much higher risk of having severe symptoms related to Covid.

To reduce the incidence of Covid in these facilities, federal regulations require prevention training and the hiring of staff to target the issue (for nursing homes with more than 100 patients).

Some symptoms of COVID-19 that are common in the elderly include:

  • Fever over 100 degrees
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore Throat
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of Breath

There are few treatments for Covid once a person has been diagnosed. Often, hospitalization is required to administer oxygen and treat symptoms.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection that has become common in some nursing homes. It affects liver cells and causes inflammation.

In fact, there has been a 50% increase in patient diagnosis of this nursing home disease, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

It can be spread through contaminated food and water and direct contact with another infected person.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Yellow Skin or Eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Dark Urine
  • Stomach Pain

The Colorado Department of Public Health requires infection control measures for the safety of all residents when Hepatitis A is detected at a facility.

What Steps Must Nursing Staff Take to Control the Infection?

Whether a nursing home is dealing with an infection or COVID-19, staff members must take measures to control the infection.

Some of the steps they should take include:

  • Using alcohol-based sanitizers
  • Using bleach-based cleaners
  • Using clean gloves with each patient
  • Isolating infected individuals
  • Careful handling of laundry and dirty textiles
  • Safe injection practices
  • Wearing surgical masks and other PPE

What Preventative Training Should Staff Undergo?

All licensed medical professionals at a nursing facility should have received appropriate education on how to prevent outbreaks of infection.

However, nursing homes should also ensure their staff members receive updated safety and health training.

The CDC offers many training and education resources for nursing and medical professionals related to infectious diseases.

Failure to take any of these training opportunities may result in a finding of negligence because the individuals and facilities are not doing their due diligence to remain up to date on proper medical protocols.

Who’s Liable for Infections?

There may be multiple parties liable for you or your loved one’s nursing home infection.

Some at-fault parties may include:

  • Staff Members – If staff members failed to follow best practices or facility protocols, they may be responsible for the infection that result from their negligence.
  • Nursing Homes – Ultimately, nursing homes are responsible for the actions of staff members. They should ensure they know how to prevent unnecessary infections.
  • Management Companies – Many nursing homes have management companies that handle hiring, training, and more. If those companies fail to ensure staff has a good knowledge of preventative techniques, they can be negligent.
  • Parent Entities – Many nursing homes are part of larger parent entities. These corporations are responsible for ensuring the facilities have appropriate training and protocols.

What Compensation Can You Recover?

The victim of an unnecessary infection in a nursing home can recover monetary damages for the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Caregiver expenses
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Physical impairment
  • Incidental expenses.

If your loved one died due to sepsis or another complication of an infection, you might be able to recover monetary damages for the following:

  • Loss of financial support that the decedent would have provided to the surviving spouse, heirs, or designated beneficiary (if the decedent was a rehab patient who was going to return to work)
  • Funeral expenses
  • Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, grief, and loss of companionship

The estate administrator may also be able to bring a Survival Action for medical expenses and other losses that occurred before death.