Infections in nursing homes or rehabilitation facilities can be deadly
Facilities must watch for signs of infections, so doctors can treat them promptly
When patients are near the end of a hospitalization for a surgery or other illness, they sometimes need some additional care before they can go home. In these situations, case managers and doctors will often transfer patients to a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, like Manor Care Willowbrook, in Houston, or a rehabilitation facility, like Reliant Rehabilitation Hospital North Houston, in Shenandoah.
Patients and their families should realize that skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities are frequently not set up to treat serious infections or to manage patients who are on multiple strong medications. Instead, the staff at such facilities handles basic care and rehabilitation. Yet, sometimes skilled nursing or rehabilitation facilities, and their doctors, will accept patients who have infections that are beyond their capability to treat properly.
Infections are dangerous and need proper treatment
Infections have to be taken seriously and can be life-threatening if they are not treated properly. Various type of organisms cause infections and doctors must determine the source of the infection in order to select the correct drug to kill the organism.
After a surgery, infections can develop at the site of the surgical wound. When a patient has any type of line or catheter inserted, that is another site where infections can develop.
Two of the most common signs of an infection are a fever and a high white blood cell count. With these signs, competent doctors and nurses will want to do further assessments to determine if there is an infection, what is causing it and how to treat it. Add to these symptoms disorientation or an altered mental status, and the likelihood of infection is even higher.
If you or someone you care about is hospitalized and has these symptoms, some polite questions can help ensure that a potential infection is being properly treated.
- Ask the nurse and doctor if there is an infection.
- If so, ask what the source of the infection is.
- If they do not know, ask what tests can be done to determine the source of the infection.
- If any antibiotics are being given, ask if they are doing any tests (sometimes called trough levels) that will be done to make sure the infection is responding to the medication.
We are here to help
It is tragic to see a serious injury or death for an infection that is not properly treated. If this happens to you or someone you know, feel welcome to contact Painter Law Firm at 281-580-8800.
Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.
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Published in the July/August 2018 edition of "The Houston Lawyer" magazine