Our Greenville nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys are closely monitoring a recent report about the spread of the Hepatitis B virus to at least 8 patients at the GlenCare Mount Olive assisted living facility in Wayne County.
Unsafe glucose monitoring practices have been linked to 5 deaths out of 8 assisted-living facility patients who were infected with the virus after medication techs reused the adjustable lancing devices on multiple patients to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. State health officials have determined that neither the devices nor the glucometers were routinely cleaned or disinfected between uses, the News & Observer reports. All 8 victims have been infected with Hepatitis B – a contagious liver disease. The dead range in age from 63 to 83 and all five patients died between August and late October, 2010.
The Center for Disease Control reports that Hepatitis B is a viral infection transmitted most commonly through the exchange of bodily fluids or by sexual contact. Infection can be acute, or short-term, or can develop into a long-term, chronic, condition that brings serious health implications and can be fatal. The spread of Hepatitis B can be prevented through vaccination.
It is believed that about 800,000 to 1.4 million Americans live with chronic Hepatitis B virus infection and that globally about 350 million people have the disease. Chronic Hepatitis B has been linked to 620,000 deaths each year. In the U.S., the incidence of Hepatitis B has dropped by more than 80 percent since 1990 largely due to the implementation of a child vaccination campaign.
The New England Cable News reports that GlenCare Mount Olive staff was not trained in preventing Hepatitis contamination despite them being responsible for regularly checking blood sugar levels of diabetic patients. GlenCare can be fined up to $20,000 for numerous violations documented by state health workers. Regulators said that the facility avoided losing state licensing because mangers moved immediately to correct the problem once the infections started.
Consumer Reports offers a list of tips for family members looking to place a loved one in an assisted-living or long-term care facility:
~ Do your own research. Gather a list of local facilities and check the ownership, talk to administrators, ask about top-level turnover.
~ Visit the facility multiple times at different times of day. Check out patient schedules and find out how many patients aides and staff are responsible for monitoring. When possible, observe interaction between patients and staff.
~ Read state inspection surveys (Form 2567), talk to local ombudsmen and consult quality monitoring boards.
If you suspect a facility of neglect or abuse, seeking the professional advice of North Carolina nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer at Lee & Smith will help protect the rights of your loved one. To schedule a free, confidential, appointment to discuss your concerns contact us online or by phone at 1-800-887-1965.