When looking at nursing homes for your loved one, you consider a variety of factors. You want to feel confident that Mom or Dad will feel comfortable and receive the best care.

To this end, one important question you should ask is how the staff treats residents who have infections.

Types of infections

A nosocomial infection is an infectious disease that stems from a pathogenic organism such as a virus, bacteria or parasite. These infections begin in hospitals and nursing homes. They can pass from person to person but often arise from an unsanitary environment. One such infection is staphylococcus aureus, known as “staph.” In nursing homes, the more invasive form MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant S. aureus, often develops.

More about MRSA

MRSA is difficult to treat because it is resistant to many antibiotics. Elderly nursing home residents are at risk for staph and, therefore, MRSA because older people have weak immune systems and the added problem of underlying medical conditions. If the infection enters the skin through a cut, for example, it can burrow into the tissues and affect bones and the bloodstream with serious consequences, such as bacterial pneumonia or even kidney failure.

What to expect

The nursing home you choose should have knowledgeable, caring staff and an excellent record of treating nosocomial infections. Effective infection prevention begins with maintaining a clean, sanitary environment and the regular washing of towels and bedsheets. Nursing home employees should wash their hands before and after any contact with residents. If an infection like staph occurs, the patient should be isolated and the infection contained, so other residents are not put at risk.

Misdiagnosis issues

Like hospitals, nursing homes are dangerous places for picking up infections. You want to choose the right nursing home for your loved one, so you do your research and ask the right questions. However, you cannot predict or control the misdiagnosis of an infection, which often leads to a delay in treatment and harm to the patient. This is where experienced legal help enters the picture to pursue an investigation and protect your loved one’s rights.