Infection pervades medical facilities and hurts the elderly

It’s natural to think of hospitals and medical facilities as clean, sterile places. We certainly don’t think that a visit to a clinic or a stay in a nursing home will lead to serious infection.

But a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study indicates that a strand of bacteria called Clostridium difficile is putting patients, including nursing home residents, at risk of illness and death. The revival of this infection makes it even more crucial that negligence in nursing homes and medical facilities is put to a stop.

When a person gets infected with C. diff, he would suffer from diarrhea. Some cases of infection are so serious that sufferers die as a result. This sort of infection used to be considered a hospital safety issue, but now outpatient facilities and nursing homes need to up their measures to combat the spread of infection.

According to the CDC, C. diff is causing infections at a record rate because of an over-dependence on antibiotics in the medical field. While such medicine can save lives and restore good health, too much of a good thing has reportedly caused a problem. There are good types of bacteria that are killed by antibiotics, leaving patients susceptible to becoming infected by something like C. diff.

In order to not spread this sort of infection, doctors, nurses and others who work with patients need to take extra care, keeping the rising rate of C. diff infections in mind. The CDC suggests that doctors test for the infection when patients complain of diarrhea and that infected patients are kept isolated to avoid spreading the infection. Soap and antibacterial products will likely not kill the bacteria, so doctors and nurses should use gloves before touching a potentially infected patient. That includes when shaking hands.

C. diff. infections are found to come out of nursing homes the majority of the time. Since those who are 65 and older are more likely to die as a result of this infection, it’s important that loved ones of nursing home residents ask questions about this matter and ensure that negligence within the home is not spreading the bacteria from resident to resident.

Source: American Medical News, “C. diff causes concern in primary care, other outpatient settings,” Christine S. Moyer, March 19. 2012

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