Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition. When a nursing home patient has sepsis, quick action and emergency medical attention are needed to save their life and prevent permanent damage.

If a nursing home fails to provide their resident with the care necessary to treat sepsis, they could be liable for any lasting or fatal damage.

What to Know About Nursing Home Sepsis

Sepsis can present with common symptoms, but many patients experience this medical condition differently. That’s why it’s important for nursing home staff to take sepsis seriously and watch for any concerning or potential symptoms. Otherwise, this medical emergency can go undetected.

Septicemia is an infection that occurs when bacteria get into the bloodstream, and this can lead to sepsis. Septicemia is relatively common in people with existing medical conditions, but when it goes untreated or undiagnosed, sepsis is often the outcome.

Identifying and treating sepsis quickly is necessary to prevent serious complications and life-threatening symptoms like septic shock and organ failure. The mortality rate for sepsis ranges from 20 – 40%.

While even a young, healthy person could develop sepsis, there are certain risk factors that increase the chances, many of which are present in nursing home populations. The risk factors include the following:

  • Wounds: Nursing home patients can develop sepsis from severe and untreated bedsores, surgical incisions, or other open skin wounds.
  • Weakened immune system: Aging residents who have preexisting conditions, have recently undergone surgical procedures, or have undiagnosed infections are at higher risk of developing sepsis.
  • Chronic illness: Diseases and conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart conditions, and liver disease can all impact an older individual’s risk of sepsis.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Nursing Home Sepsis

Nursing home doctors, nurses, and other staff members have a duty to their patients. Identifying the symptoms of sepsis is often the first step. Symptoms can include:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dehydration and decreased urination
  • Discolored skin
  • Unconsciousness

The caregivers and healthcare providers in a nursing home should be aware of each resident’s medical history, which can be used as an additional indicator of the risk of developing sepsis. Blood tests can be used to confirm sepsis and imaging scans can determine the severity of the infection.

Treatment often includes antibiotics, vasopressors, intravenous fluids, steroids, and organ-supportive measures.

Even after treatment, nursing home patients may still suffer from the long-term effects of sepsis. Cognitive impairment, gangrene, organ damage, and post-sepsis syndrome are possible after sepsis is treated.

Holding Nursing Homes Responsible for Sepsis

D’Amico & Pettinicchi can help you seek compensation if a nursing home’s negligence caused your loved one’s sepsis condition. Families of aging adults put their trust in the nursing home staff, thinking that their parent, grandparent, or spouse will be well taken care of. When that trust is broken, and negligence or wrongdoing causes an injury, our attorneys are ready to hold the nursing home accountable. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.