Maybe one of the most challenging types of injuries to litigate is an infection case. This is because the medicine and science behind infections can be quite complex. What may look like a very simple bacterial infection may actually be a drug-resistant strain which can rapidly evolve. In some cases, infections can be caused by cross-contamination, while other cases involve simply improper hygiene. Knowing the difference requires working closely with trained medical experts. Illinois nursing home residents are frequently exposed to bacterial infections or worse. Nursing homes are breeding grounds for infections. Sadly, most infections are entirely preventable with good care. Nursing homes are typically understaffed, and employees sometimes receive little to no real training on preventative precautions. Here are some of the most common types of infections we see in nursing homes, and the possible causes.

  • Sepsis. This is a blood-borne infection that can be caused by internal bleeds or exposure to other bacteria. We commonly see this as the final stage of bedsores, once the person has become so severely infected that the infection reaches the bloodstream.
  • Urinary tract infection. Urinary incontinence is a common ailment in old age, and nursing home residents tend to be at risk for developing urinary tract infections for a few reasons. It can be poor catheter care, or sometimes attempting to hold their bladder too long due to no one answering call lights.
  • Infected bedsores. Bedsores are known to lead to sepsis, but keep in mind that at their core, these are just open wounds, that are exposed to the elements unless properly cared for. Proper antibiotic use and bandaging protocols are needed.
  • MRSA. Most people only know this bacterial infection as MRSA (pronounced “Mersa”). This Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is usually the result of a staph bacteria  that has developed a strong resistance to most common antibiotics. The sooner it is caught and treated, the better a person’s chance of survival.
  • C-Diff.  Commonly abbreviated to just “C Diff,” Clostridium difficile colitis is a truly nasty infection that affects the colon. C. Diff produces a form of toxin that destroys the internal lining of the colon. This is a particularly challenging and unpleasant infection, because it can cause severe fevers, diarrhea, and stomach pain, as well as complicating other treatments that require a person to be infection-free. C. Diff. also typically leads to quarantine, which can create social and emotional issues for a resident longterm.
  • Pneumonia. While there are many causes for pneumonia, one of the more common ways nursing home residents get it is by being immobile and bedbound. When a person is already vulnerable with a weakened immune system, being in the supine position for days on end can create a unique susceptibility to pneumonia. We tend to see this happen with patients who suffer a serious fall or injury that requires them to be immobile and bedbound for a long period of time. It is up to nursing home staff to help the resident move about and rehabilitate quickly. The sooner a patient can be up and around doing physical strengthening, the better their odds.
  • Infected surgical sites and wounds. Like any wound, if left open to the elements and not treated properly, it will eventually develop an infection. Sadly, when a person is up in age and physically frail, these infections can turn deadly quick.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). No one really wants to think about their aging loved one having sex in a nursing home, but the reality is older adults are still adults, and unless they are severely cognitively impaired or unable to consent, they are still free to engage in the same activities as the rest of us – which includes sex.  In recent years, reports have exposed rampant STI breakouts in places around the country where senior populations are higher. Some STIs may indeed come from consensual contact with other residents, but in some extremely unfortunate cases, it may be the result of sexual assault or misconduct by staff or other residents.

For the past decade, attorney Jaye R. Lindsay has been a strong advocate for seniors throughout the state. He has written numerous articles and continuing education materials that continue to be used by other attorneys in pursuing elder abuse cases. IN 2015, 2018, and 2020, he authored the statewide guide to elder abuse, which many other attorneys throughout the state rely upon when representing older adults and abuse victims. He has recovered millions in compensation for injured seniors and their families.  If you have a loved one suffering from abuse or neglect in an Illinois nursing home, call us 24/7 to get a free consultation. We handle cases throughout Illinois, but typically focus our efforts on rural and downstate nursing homes. The call is free, and we don’t get paid unless we collect compensation for you and your family.

Contact us today


    All consultations are free of charge.  Effective July 1, 2023, our office performs all initial consultations via phone or video chat, as we find this allows us to help people who may not be able to travel after their injuries. However, in-person appointments may be scheduled in advance. Our firm does not do walk-ins, as we cannot guarantee that the attorney will be in the office at that time.  Please see our “Crossroad Pledge” for more information about how Crossroad Legal is different than other firms you may have seen.