Fungus infections are a growing problem in nursing homes. Even more troubling is that it’s not readily noticeable. The nursing home may not know about it or opt not to inform the residents’ family members. Prolonged mold exposure could cause significant health problems, but it is especially risky for our aging loved ones.
The dangers of mold in nursing homes
Molds of all kinds tend to thrive in dark, humid and poorly ventilated spaces. Mold can grow on typical household materials like wood fabric or hide around unseen parts of the home, like its pipe.
Seniors with weakened immune systems are most at risk of developing an infection from mold exposure. Nursing homes often share spaces and items among residents, such as beds, sheets and furnishings where mold can stick to. Unclean bathrooms may also be a breeding ground for fungus.
When facilities lack adequate staffing or do not practice safe hygiene practices, they might help spread mold into various surfaces around the home.
Symptoms of mold exposure
Mold exposure could lead to minor health issues, such as allergies that antihistamines and decongestants can treat. Common symptoms include itchy nose and eyes, coughing, nasal congestion and sneezing.
However, if the problem is not addressed, residents may exhibit more severe symptoms and develop diseases over time. Those who develop a hypersensitivity to mold might exhibit difficulty breathing, chest tightness and severe coughing.
Between 2019 and 2021, a deadly fungus called Candida auris (C. auris) broke out in nursing homes and caused a spike in infections. What makes it harmful is that it is resistant to antibiotics and industrial-strength cleaning materials, making it harder to cure and eliminate. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 infected patients die.
Mold can easily go undetected. When you visit your loved ones, check if they have any symptoms and take the time to inspect the facility, their rooms and bathroom. If you suspect mold infection or neglect, consider consulting a nursing home attorney. You might have a lawsuit on your hands.