When a loved one is placed in a nursing home, the family expects that they will remain safe and well cared for. Unfortunately, lapses in judgment and unsafe habits can result in illness and injury. A recent outbreak of norovirus at an Illinois senior living facility has placed a spotlight on dangerous hygiene practices in local facilities.
The Chicago Department of Public Health has stepped in to help stop the spread of a virus in one local retirement home. This single norovirus outbreak has left several senior living facility residents hospitalized. Many contagious illnesses can lead to life-threatening consequences when elderly or otherwise medically vulnerable populations are exposed, so it is extremely important for any contagious illness to be well-controlled.
In this case, the norovirus spread quickly. This extremely contagious virus begins from the spread of germs from fecal matter, which is introduced into food or drink. It causes gastrointestinal distress, which can prove fatal to certain populations. Though aggressive measures were taken, including the suspension of all on-site food services, the illness has already affected both residents and staff.
There are several steps that nursing home administrators should take to ensure that facilities are safe for their residents. Failure to employ preventative measures to keep residents and staff safe is neglectful.
Cleanliness should be a top priority for any nursing home. Special care should be taken when working with medication, medical equipment, or food and beverages. Food handlers should all be trained to follow industry best practices. Anyone working in a nursing home should wash their hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom. Signs should be clearly posted that instruct all employees and visitors to do so.
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To promote proper hygiene practices, hand sanitizer should be easily accessible. All surfaces, especially those used for the storage or preparation of food should be thoroughly cleaned several times a day.
Illness and Neglect
When nursing home employees fail to protect residents, and this leads to their harm, this can be considered neglect. A Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer can provide consultation regarding the legal responsibilities of nursing home personnel. Because illness can lead to such severe consequences, it is vital for those working in nursing homes to take precautions to prevent the spread of communicable viruses.