Nursing home residents who contract blood infections are at dire risk of life-threatening illnesses. One study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General found that septicemia, or sepsis, was by far the most common reason nursing home residents were moved to acute-care hospitals. Sepsis is a complication caused by the body’s life-threatening response to an infection, which can result in tissue damage, organ failure, and even death. The cause of sepsis is infection. The cost of those transfers as of six years ago was $3 billion for Medicare.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated that quality care problems at nursing homes – including failures to prevent infections – account for hundreds of thousands of cases annually. The agency asserted some 315,000 hospital admissions annually could be prevented among nursing home residents who receive Medicare and Medicaid if nursing homes provided better quality care. That’s the equivalent of three jumbo jets crashing and killing their passengers every single day. Many of those admissions are for sepsis, which most often occurs in people over the age of 65 who have weakened immune systems and chronic medical conditions. Globally, it’s estimated there are 15 million to 19 million cases a year.
Now, a physician in Virginia may have found a way to treat sepsis. His research, published in the journal Chest, reveals remarkable success treating individuals at high risk of sudden death due to sepsis.