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She is in Hospice at Home,. Medicare allow for one 5-night respite. I came in to pick her up this morning. I was told about epidemic and told to wear mask and wash hands coming in and out. My mother's friend visited her yesterday and said that the cleaners were wearing masks. Neither patients or visitors were advised of infection, let alone family. When I asked if my mother was sick, they asked if she was one of the ones that they had on IV. They said the doctor was there all day yesterday. While I was there, I saw some staff, including nursing supervisor walking around without masks, not using gloves or sanitizer. I got my mother out of there, but will anybody have to report this?

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You need to find out what the specific infection(s) is. Dealing with C Diff is pretty different than the seasonal flu or MRSA. Your concern & worry should be dependent on what the infection was.

Also based your described this was an "outbreak" rather than a true "epidemic". Outbreaks happen all the time, usually it's C Diff that spreads from having a influx of just released from the hospital to the NH residents. Scabies is another outbreak that happens often too. MRSA is pretty serious and usually those wards or floors get closed off and some transferred to hospitals.

The NH probably has on hand a sheet (like from the State Dept of Health) with basic FAQ's on whatever it is.

My bet is that it's C Diff outbreak & a new male resident who brought it in.
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Ever notice that during these outbreaks, the doctors and nurses get sick, but never the cleaning people? Maybe it's because they wear gloves and masks and they tote around antiseptic solutions all day. During the SARS outbreak, the WHO sent an expert to China and he died from it. They figured out that the disease was being transmitted via hand contact on patient charts. WASH YOUR HANDS for cryin' out loud.
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Eyerishlass has great information. You have a right to request from the director of nursing what particular infection was going around so you know what to look out for with your mother. Sorry your mother is ill.
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I had to laugh when you said "epidemic". I thought about small pox or the plague.

Nursing homes and hospitals for that matter are incubators for bacteria. Yes, we can take precautions like hand sanitizer and washing our hands with soap and water and even face masks if we want to go that far but bugs are going to break out in NH's and hospitals, schools and workplaces, anywhere where people gather. It's just a fact of life. However, if there is a particularly nasty infection going around the health department may be contacted but that doesn't happen a lot because, as I said, any time you have an environment with people who's immune systems are compromised there are going to be contagious illnesses making the rounds. There is absolutely no way to prevent it 100% because there will always be those people who walk around and go about their day when they are sick and contagious, healthcare workers who don't wash their hands, and people who think hand sanitizer is the equivalent to a vaccination. I work in healthcare and we have an infectious disease Dr. on our staff and she said hand sanitizer does very little in preventing illness but people feel better using it and if people think the sanitizer is going to help them not get sick then that's good enough---the power of positive thinking. Where there is a lot of 'sanitizing' going on such as hospitals and NH's and schools the bacteria just learn to survive whatever it is we do to get rid of them. They become harsher in order to survive and there is no getting rid of them which is why we use prophylactic measures like handwashing and gloves. Anytime there is a communal environment there are going to be bacteria and viruses hanging around. When my dad was in the NH, during the fall (flu season) they had residents who were sick confined to their rooms. So we can do what we can to prevent illness but it gets in every time.
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For more information, go to cdc.gov/norovirus.
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State Health Departments are very good at keeping track of outbreaks. January is peak time for Norovirus, which is a gastrointestinal thing with vomiting and diarrhea. If she spikes a fever and starts puking and has diarrhea, call the MD. When the holidays come around, there are lots of extra visitors to nursing homes, and lots of extra germs come in with them.
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