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Nursing Home Patients at Risk of MRSA Infections

Nursing homes are designed to keep elderly patients safe and as health as possible, but a new study shows that nursing home patients may actually be at an increased risk of deadly, drug-resistant bacterial infections.

In fact, a study of nursing homes in southern California found a drug-resistant and potentially deadly skin infection in 20 out of 22 facilities tested - evidence that the healthcare industry needs to devote more attention to stopping the spread of drug-resistant infections, such as community-associated strains of infections like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which can lead to blood infections, abscesses, and pneumonia - medical conditions for which nursing home patients are particularly susceptible.

MRSA is a strain of the S. aureus bacteria that became resistant to the normal antibiotics used to treat the staph infections. As this article states, many strains of MRSA infections can be found in hospitals or other health care settings, and oftentimes MRSA infections are connected to invasive medical procedures, such as the insertion of intravenous tubing or surgeries. Community-associated MRSA infections (CA-MRSA) are newer strains of MRSA that can infect healthy people who have not been hospitalized or had recent medical procedure procedures.

The study found that, among those patients with MRSA, one-quarter had the community-acquired strain. This strain was also more common in nursing homes with a higher number of patients younger than 65, which may be because younger people are generally more active and more likely to be exposed to MRSA in public places. The study also found that MRSA was less common at admission than later on, which could indicate that nursing home residents are transmitting it to other residents.

"We believe [nursing home] facilities could benefit from further infection control interventions, such as enhanced environmental cleaning or skin decolonization," study author Courtney Murphy said in a news release.

Until now, research into the spread of MRSA has focused on hospitals and not nursing homes. As this Health Day article points out, nursing homes encourage socializing, so the steps necessary to combat MRSA infection in these facilities may differ from the precautions taken by hospitals.

At Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish, our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of nursing home patients and ensuring that they and their families get the compensation they deserve in the event that they are the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. If you suspect that a nursing home is negligent in its health and safety precautions, contact our office at (312) 782-1386 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers.


Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  ( is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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