Moving your parent into a nursing home is never an easy choice. We want to care for our parents to the best of our ability, but sometimes the care required is simply beyond our means. You worry that your parent will be lonely, lose their sense of independence or, worse, become a victim of abuse. What few people concern themselves with is the contraction of an illness. After all, nursing homes are sanitary.
Unfortunately, patients contract illnesses, even in nursing homes. One of the most common is C.diff (Clostridium difficile). Along with MRSA, C.diff is of great concern to patients, particularly those with compromised or weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of C.diff include diarrhea multiple times in a day, lasting for several days, fever, blood in the stool, abdominal tenderness or cramping, nausea and loss of appetite. If any of these symptoms occur in conjunction with one another or for several days in a row, medical attention is warranted.
You can help your parent avoid contracting C.diff in the nursing home by acting as their advocate. Here are steps you can take:
1. Ask any person who comes into contact with your parent to first wash their hands. Most medical professionals will wash their hands in front of a patient without needing to be asked to do so. If hands are not washed, latex gloves should be worn.
2. Try to limit the number of medical professionals and visitors who have contact with your parent. This can be difficult, but limiting the amount of people will limit the amount of exposure.
3. Wash the surfaces in your parent’s room with a hospital-grade disinfectant or chlorine bleach. You can typically find wipes that are convenient and strong enough.
4. Check to make sure that your parent’s caregivers are washing the heads of their stethoscopes with an alcohol wipe before they use it to monitor your parent’s vital signs.
5. Encourage your parent to wash their hands before every meal.
C.diff is spread through fecal contact. It’s easier than you think to come into contact with feces, and contracting C.diff is not something you want your parent to have to deal with. Follow the steps above to help keep your parent free of C.diff and other illnesses.
If you believe that your parent contracted an illness in Charleston due to the neglect of a medical professional, contact our office. We have a team of attorneys dedicated to medical malpractice and we are ready to assist you and your family. Call today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.