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Cellulitis could be a sign of nursing home neglect

As people grow older, they are more likely to suffer from illnesses such as skin infections. These infections are preventable, and in most cases treatable. Unfortunately, when a nursing home isn't providing quality care, the illness may get worse.

Cellulitis is one of the major skin issues and infections that may affect the elderly. This is a bacterial infection of the skin that can often be found in nursing home residents who have had or do currently have bedsores.

Cellulitis is potentially serious without treatment. It can affect the legs, face, arms and other areas of the body, spreading through the skin, lymph nodes and blood. Cellulitis can become life-threatening if it infects the blood.

What causes cellulitis?

Cellulitis infections can occur when the skin breaks open and bacteria gets into the wound. For example, an elderly person with a bedsore may have an open wound, which is a prime area for infections.

Cellulitis is most often caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. A more serious form is caused by the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, bacteria.

Nursing home residents are most likely to have cellulitis caused by bacteria entering cuts on the skin.

What are some of the symptoms of cellulitis?

Some of the symptoms of cellulitis include:

  • Pain in a red, inflamed area of skin
  • A patch of redness that tends to expand outward
  • Tenderness
  • Fever
  • Red spots
  • Skin dimpling
  • Blisters
  • Swelling

Nursing home patients are more likely to have cellulitis on the legs, though other parts of the body may be affected. It's important, therefore, for nurses and aides to keep an eye on a patient's injuries and to make sure that an infection does not take hold. If they notice a rash, then a diagnosis needs to be made quickly.

Recurrent episodes of cellulitis can damage your lymphatic drainage system and can also result in swelling in the affected limb. In rare cases, infections can go on to cause necrotizing fasciitis, which is life-threatening.

Elders deserve proper care in nursing homes. If they suffer injuries due to a lack of support with hygiene or wound treatment, then they and their families may have a nursing home neglect case and claim to make.

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