People know that there are risks in nursing homes that aren’t really safety concerns in other environments. Bedsores, falls that lead to broken hips and abuse by care providers are all known safety issues that compromise the quality of life for older adults. Those living in nursing homes or dealing with medical issues related to advanced age may be medically and physically vulnerable.
The list of risks for medically vulnerable individuals in their golden years just keeps growing. Reduced immune function as people age means that the common cold and the annual flu can be serious health concerns for older adults.
Now, those living in residential care facilities like nursing homes and their families may also need to worry about a drug-resistant, deadly fungus spreading rapidly through New Jersey.
What has people so worried?
For several years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tracked the reported cases of a very concerning fungal infection. Candida auris is a fungus that can spread from human to human and which can be deadly for many patients. The infection will cause fever and will spread systemically if not caught and treated quickly. More than a third of patients die if the infection reaches their heart or brain.
Such infections tend to spread more rapidly in environments with high population density and among those with compromised immune function. Nursing homes are therefore the perfect environment for a fungus like candida auris to rapidly spread. Currently, New Jersey and New York are among the most affected states. Older adults in New Jersey may be at elevated risk of exposure to this deadly fungus, with dozens of reported cases in numerous different facilities.
Family members with loved ones in New Jersey nursing homes may want to check in with staff members to ensure that sanitation practices reflect this growing concern for nursing home residents. If a nursing home facility fails to take appropriate steps to protect its residents or to treat those infected with candida auris, then the individual affected or their loved ones may have grounds for a claim against the facility.
Tracking risks for nursing home residents may help family members better advocate for someone living in a care facility.