Increase in nursing home deaths linked to norovirus

Nursing homes across the U.S. are reporting a large number of occurrences of norovirus among residents. In a two-year study that investigated nursing homes in three different states it was reported that there was a 9 percent increase in the number of residents that needed to be hospitalized during a norovirus outbreak. In addition, the percentage of deaths increased by 11 percent. The outbreak of the virus and the lack of control over the spreading of the virus may be considered, by some, to be a form of nursing home neglect.

The conclusion of the study was that there is a strong possibility that norovirus is a large contributor to the increased deaths among nursing home residents. Another consequence is that the increase in cases can subsequently lead to healthy residents also being neglected because the attention is focused on infected residents. Stemming from this is the idea is that the increase in deaths would not have been so extreme if the residents in the nursing homes had received more adequate and scrupulous care from the nursing home staff.

Many seniors are victims of neglect or elder abuse in nursing homes. There are also incidents of bed sores, dehydration and malnutrition. In the event of neglect, the victims or their families can file for damages to relieve some of the financial burdens that they may be experiencing. The victims and their families should understand that they have places to go for help and support. After all, no one, young or old, should be forced to endure any kind of abuse or neglect.

Source: MedPage Today, “Norovirus Tied to Nursing Home Deaths,” Michael Smith, Oct. 18, 2012