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Respiratory Infection in Nursing Home


The risk for infectious diseases is high with viral respiratory infections such as influenza (flu) outbreaks, respiratory syncytial virus, and the common cold. According to a six-month prospective study, respiratory infections are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in nursing home residents.

Did your loved one suffer a preventable respiratory infection or pass away from aspiration pneumonia while in a nursing home? The personal injury attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC represent injured residents harmed by negligence and abuse.

Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

The Prevalence and Impact of Respiratory Infections in Nursing Homes

Respiratory infections in nursing home facilities are common and can significantly impact residents’ health and well-being.

Respiratory Infection Statistics in Nursing Facilities

According to a six-month prospective study, respiratory infections cause most morbidity and mortality in nursing home residents. Respiratory infections account for 19% of all hospitalizations in nursing home residents, and up to 50% experience at least one episode of respiratory infection each year.

Viral respiratory infections such as influenza outbreaks, respiratory syncytial virus, and the common cold are among nursing homes’ most common respiratory infections.

The Impact of Upper Respiratory Infections on Nursing Home Residents

Upper respiratory infections, such as the cold and flu, are highly contagious and can spread rapidly in nursing facilities. These infections can lead to complications for nursing home residents, including pneumonia and bronchitis.

In addition, the infections can exacerbate existing conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Nursing home residents who develop infections may also experience a decline in cognitive function and an increase in depressive symptoms.

The Risk of Lower Respiratory Tract Infections in Nursing Facilities

Lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia, are common in nursing facilities and particularly dangerous for elderly residents. Pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization and death among residents.

Nursing home residents with a lower respiratory infection may experience symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Complications of a lower respiratory infection can include sepsis, respiratory failure, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Acquiring a respiratory infection is a significant concern for nursing home patients, and taking steps to prevent and manage these infections is crucial.

Respiratory Infection Causes in Nursing Facilities

Understanding the causes of respiratory infections in caregiving homes is essential for preventing and controlling these infections.

The Spread of Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections can spread quickly in nursing facilities due to close living quarters and shared spaces. Respiratory infections are primarily spread through large respiratory droplets that are expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

These droplets can travel up to six feet and can be inhaled by nearby individuals, leading to infection. In caregiving homes, staff members and visitors may unknowingly spread respiratory infections between residents.

Factors Contributing to the Spread of Respiratory Infections in Nursing Homes

Several factors contribute to the spread of respiratory infections in nursing facilities. One of the primary factors is the presence of high-risk individuals, such as elderly residents with weakened immune systems.

In addition, overcrowding, poor ventilation, and inadequate control measures can increase the risk of a respiratory infection. Staff members who are sick or do not follow proper prevention and control protocols can also contribute to spreading infections.

The Role of Aspiration Pneumonia in Respiratory Infections

Aspiration pneumonia occurs when food, saliva, or stomach contents are inhaled into the lungs. The pneumonia can occur in nursing home patients with difficulty swallowing, such as those with dementia or Parkinson’s.

Pneumonia can lead to a respiratory infection that is often particularly dangerous for patients with underlying health conditions.

Overall, understanding the causes of these infections in nursing facilities is crucial for preventing and controlling these infections.

Infection Control and Prevention in Nursing Facilities

Preventing nursing home infections is critical for protecting the health and well-being of residents.

The Importance of Hand Hygiene in Preventing Respiratory Infections

Hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of these dangerous infections in nursing homes. Staff and visitors should wash their hands frequently and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Hand hygiene is paramount before and after contact with nursing residents and after handling any potentially contaminated items.

Effective Strategies for Reducing the Risk of Respiratory Infections

Several effective strategies can be used to reduce the risk of developing a respiratory infection in nursing homes. These strategies include implementing proper infection control measures, such as isolating residents with respiratory infections, educating staff on infection control, and using personal protective equipment (PPE) when appropriate.

In addition, regular cleaning and disinfecting of shared spaces, such as dining areas and standard rooms, can also help reduce the risk of a respiratory infection.

Vaccinations and Immunizations for Respiratory Infections

Vaccinations and immunizations can also significantly prevent these infections in nursing homes. The flu vaccine is recommended for all patients and staff, as influenza outbreaks can significantly impact the health of nursing residents.

Pneumococcal vaccinations can also help protect against pneumonia, a common complication of infections in nursing homes.

Prevention measures are crucial for protecting nursing home patients from respiratory infections. Implementing effective strategies, such as proper hand hygiene and vaccinations, can significantly reduce the risk of a respiratory infection.

Legal Remedies When Nursing Home Negligence Causes Respiratory Infections

When residents develop these infections, it may be a sign of neglect or abuse.

Liability in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide residents a safe and healthy environment. If a resident develops a respiratory infection due to the negligence of a nursing facility, the facility may be liable for damages.

Sometimes, the nursing home may be held responsible for failing to take proper infection prevention measures or allowing staff to work while sick.

Legal Action Against Nursing Homes for Negligence in Preventing Respiratory Infections

If a nursing facility is responsible for a resident’s respiratory infection, legal action may be taken against the facility. This legal action may include a lawsuit for damages and possibly a citation from the state regulatory agency.

Families of residents who have developed respiratory infections due to negligence may also file complaints with the regulatory agency or ombudsman’s office.

Nursing facilities have a legal duty to prevent and manage respiratory infections in their residents. If a facility is negligent in preventing respiratory infections, legal action may be taken to hold the facility responsible for their actions.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Resolve Your Nursing Home Abuse Case

Were you or a loved one harmed by neglect or abuse in a nursing home? In many cases, abuse or neglect victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries.

By hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can ensure that your legal rights are protected, and you receive the compensation you deserve. Nursing Home Law Center, LLC has a team of experienced personal injury attorneys specializing in elder abuse cases.

Don’t let abuse or neglect go unpunished. Contact our personal injury attorneys at (800) 926-7565 or use a contact form for a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.

By hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can take the necessary steps to hold nursing facilities responsible for their actions. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge to investigate your case, gather evidence, and build a solid legal strategy.

We will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve and that justice is served.



Nursing Home State Laws

Nursing home abuse lawsuits must be pursued according to the laws set forth by the state where the facility is located. In this section, our attorneys have compiled the relevant laws, regulations and local organizations for each state so you can get an idea of how the law impacts your situation. Should you decide to move forward with a case, you will also find information about locating an experienced attorney who can assist your family.

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