If you have a parent or a grandparent in a nursing home, you probably keep a close eye on your loved one’s care. Some seniors become the victims of abuse or neglect from nursing home staffers. Serious injuries or health conditions may result. Sepsis is one alarming development that some seniors face due to poor care.
Sepsis occurs when an infection such as bacteria invades the body, provoking a response that causes tissue and organ damage and may progress to severe sepsis and septic shock. The Sepsis Alliance explains some causes of sepsis in seniors and how neglect in care may cause sepsis to happen.
Bedsores and sepsis
Nursing home workers should take care to shift residents in their beds so they do not lie or sit constantly in one location for too long. Otherwise, it may cause continual pressure on a part of the body that produces a pressure injury, generally bedsores. Since a sore is a break in the skin, it can expose the body to dangerous infections that may lead to sepsis.
UTIs and sepsis
Nursing homes must ensure bathroom access for their residents. Irregular bathroom use or a failure to clean urine or stool from the body may lead to a urinary tract infection. A UTI may result in various symptoms like foul smells from urine, pain during urinating or a frequent need to urinate. While seniors may recover from a UTI with treatment, sometimes these infections become serious enough to cause sepsis.
The dangers of sepsis
Sepsis can result in increased heart rate and breathing, fever or lower body temperature, or periods of confusion. If not treated, sepsis may become fatal. Sepsis in seniors can also lead to a subsequent hospitalization within three months, perhaps because of second sepsis or another infection. Even if a senior survives the condition, there is a chance of suffering cognitive decline.
In general, a senior is at greater risk of dying from sepsis than younger people. Neglect or abuse that exposes an older person to infection may lead to a tragic outcome. Check for symptoms of a possible infection and any sign that your loved one is not receiving proper care.