Study Shows Poor Infection Control in Nursing Homes Linked to Lower Staffing Levels

By Catherine Bertram

Infections in nursing homes kill 400,000 residents a year according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.   The authors contend that nearly one-sixth of the US nursing homes have significant deficiencies in infection control.  Over 100,000 patient encounters were reviewed.  The University of Pittsburgh Public Health program researchers analyzed records from 2000 through 2007 and found that infection control citations in 96% of US nursing homes were linked to lower nursing staff levels. 

Infections are leading cause of morbidity and mortality in U.S. nursing homes.  This study reminds us of the direct link between professional staffing levels and safe care for our most vulnerable citizens.  Those are are family members and advocates for seniors need to keep speaking up and asking questions about the infection rates and infection control requirements at long term care facilities.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated again as a 2011 Best Lawyer in DC for Malpractice and a 2011 Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has over 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital.  Ms. Bertram is a member of the bar for the U.S. Supreme Court.  She is a partner with the firm and lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally, regarding patient safety, medical negligence and other related issues. She has also recently published a chapter in a surgical textbook.   She can be reached by email at cbertram@reganfirm.com or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C