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chicago nursing home lawyer Sepsis is an often-deadly medical condition that can pose serious risks for nursing home residents. In fact, it is estimated that about half of all deaths in nursing homes are due to sepsis. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of sepsis and what steps should be taken if a loved one contracts the infection.

What Is Sepsis?

Put simply, sepsis is an infection in the bloodstream caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. When bacteria enters the bloodstream, it triggers an immune response that causes inflammation and damage to tissues and organs throughout the body. Left untreated, sepsis can lead to organ failure and death. Sepsis can be caused by infections acquired at a hospital or nursing home, but it can also occur as a result of poor hygiene or inadequate sterilization techniques used by nursing home staff. The most common types of infections that can lead to sepsis include those that begin in the lungs, skin, urinary tract, and gastrointestinal tract.

Symptoms of Sepsis

The most common symptoms of sepsis include fever, chills, rapid breathing, confusion, low blood pressure, dizziness, rash, and abdominal pain. If any of these symptoms are present in a nursing home resident, the resident should be immediately evaluated for possible sepsis infection. Early diagnosis and treatment are key for preventing serious complications from occurring.


Cook County Nursing Home Injury LawyerWhen a body becomes overwhelmed with an infection, it may kick the immune system into overdrive. Sometimes, this triggers a dangerous condition called “sepsis.” Sepsis is not an infection per se, but rather a full-body immune system response in which the body begins attacking its own tissues. This can rapidly lead to organ failure and death. 

Because of their vulnerable health and difficulty communicating, elderly residents of nursing homes are at increased risk of suffering from sepsis. Here are five conditions that can cause sepsis in an Illinois nursing home if proper treatment, supervision, or cleanliness is not observed. 

Bed Sores

When a patient lays in bed for too long, the pressure of their body weight on the contact points with the bed or chair can turn into bed sores. Nursing home staff are responsible for moving patients regularly and ensuring they do not develop these painful sores. If the sores do begin to develop, nursing home staff should catch them well before they become an open wound susceptible to infection.


Chicago nursing home injury attorneys Nursing home residents live in nursing home facilities because they have mental or physical disabilities that make independent living an impractical or unsafe option. Often, nursing home residents suffer from multiple illnesses and age-related health concerns at the same time which can make them especially vulnerable. It is for this reason that nurses, nurses’ aides, and other medical workers are on staff. When a nursing home resident develops a bed sore, falls, or is otherwise injured, nursing home staff must take appropriate steps to treat the wound. Improper wound care can lead to infection, sepsis, and even death.

Special Attention Must Be Paid to Sick and Elderly Residents

When a child scrapes his or her knee, he or she may put a bandage on the wound and forget about it soon after. The wound then heals on its own without complication. However, elderly and disabled individuals’ bodies do not heal as quickly from soft tissue injuries as those who are young and healthy. This is why it is crucial that nursing home staff properly treat resident injuries and carefully monitor the resident for signs of infection or other medical problems. This is especially true for residents who cannot advocate for themselves due to physical or mental impairments.

Some of the most common types of wounds suffered by nursing home residents include:


Chicago nursing home injury attorneysMost nursing home residents live in a care facility because they have mental and physical health problems that significantly decrease their ability to care for themselves. Residents may need assistance with daily living tasks such as bathing, eating, and using the restroom, as well as help managing their medical conditions. Nursing home staff are expected to monitor residents’ health for signs of new or worsening medical conditions. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are dangerously understaffed and residents may not be as monitored as closely as they should be. One major concern for elderly and ill nursing home residents is a condition called sepsis.  

What Is Sepsis?

When a bacterium, virus, or other disease-causing pathogen enters an individual’s body, the body’s immune system immediately starts to attack the pathogen. The healthier a person’s immune system is, the more likely it is to fight off the pathogen before it can start spreading. However, when pathogens multiply faster than the immune system can fight them, an infection can develop. Some of the most common infections that nursing home residents suffer from include skin infections caused by wounds or bedsores, diabetic wound infections, vascular ulcers, respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections.

When the immune system targets these infections, it releases certain chemicals into the bloodstream. These chemicals can sometimes cause tissues and organs to become severely inflamed. This condition is called sepsis. If sepsis is not treated properly and promptly, it can lead to death.


Illinois nursing home injury attorneysDid you know that nearly two million people develop sepsis in the United States each year? While the condition can be treated successfully, more than 250,000 deaths are attributed to sepsis annually. That is more than the number of deaths caused by AIDS, prostate cancer, and breast cancer combined!

Unfortunately, nursing home patients are considered to be at increased risk for sepsis compared to the average person. To understand why this is true, you must first understand a little more about the condition.

Sepsis Is Not an Infection

The first thing you should know about sepsis is that it is not an infection, nor is it a bacterium, virus, parasite, or any other type of pathogen. Instead, it is a response to an infection. Put simply, a person can only develop sepsis if he or she has some type of infection.

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