Nursing Home Use of Antibiotics Adverse Affects

Granddaughter with her grandfather
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No one likes putting a loved one into a nursing home, but it can be unavoidable at times. In this article, we will be focusing on drugs used in these facilities, specifically antibiotics, and how strict control is needed to maintain a balance when given to nursing home patients.

In a 2015 study, nursing home patients were exposed to a 24% greater risk of adverse events from antibiotics and suffered related illnesses such as gastroenteritis, the development of antibiotic-resistant organisms, as well as allergies, and general medication adverse events.

Vile of pills
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Antibiotics are prescription drugs that fight infections caused by bacteria. Similar to how the process of neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus works from the vaccines, antibiotics kill the bacteria or prevent them from copying themselves. This is known as antibiotic resistance.

The most common antibiotics are the following:

      • amoxicillin
      • doxycycline
      • cephalexin
      • ciprofloxacin
      • clindamycin
      • metronidazole
      • azithromycin
      • sulfamethoxazole

You may be familiar with amoxicillin. Besides normal prescriptions from medical doctors, it is also prescribed by dentists for those who have certain heart conditions such as mitral valve prolapse.

High Antibiotic Use and Its Potential Consequences

Overuse of antibiotics can have the opposite effect of what they were initially designed for. Instead of killing the bacteria, it can make the bacteria stronger and subsequently resist the exact drug that is trying to neutralize them.

Residents in nursing homes with high antibiotic use have a 24% higher risk of an antibiotic-related adverse event, which is an unexpected medical problem that occurs during prescription drug treatment according to a  study published in JAMA by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, located in Ontario, Canada.

The researchers studied more than 100,000 residents in more than 600 Ontario nursing homes and found a 10-fold variability in antibiotic use. The range was from as low as 20 antibiotic days per 1,000 resident days to as high as 200 antibiotic days. Antibiotic-related issues usually involve the digestive system and can include C. difficile, which is an infection of the large intestines, diarrhea, or gastroenteritis. Also, allergic reactions have been recorded.

Our findings show that these adverse outcomes affected not only residents who directly received antibiotics, but also those residents who did not directly receive antibiotics because infections like Clostridium difficile and antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be transmitted between patients,” lead author Nick Daneman, MD, MSc, an adjunct scientist at ICES, said in a statement.

You are Not Alone!

Even residents not receiving antibiotics could be at risk of these consequences. One of the antibiotic-related harms is antibiotic-resistant organisms. A condition where bacteria develop the ability to overtake the drugs that are designed to neutralize them. That means the germs are not killed but continue to grow, which not only affects the recipient but also can indirectly affect others besides the patient.

Overall, 13.3% of residents in a nursing home with high antibiotic use experience adverse antibiotic-related events compared with 11.4% of residents in a low antibiotic-use nursing home.

Antibiotic use is highly variable across nursing homes; residents of high-use homes are exposed to an increased risk of antibiotic-related harms even if they have not directly received these agents,” the authors concluded. “Antibiotic stewardship is needed to improve the safety of all nursing home residents.”

Taking Extra Care!

Some nursing homes are notorious for over-medicating patients, so those of you who have a loved one in a home should be vigilant when bringing a patient into a facility and while the patient is already living there.

Case in Point

A nursing home on Long Island recently had patients become infected with Covid-19. This baffled the staff as this facility maintained strict Covid regulations. Everyone entering the home had to wear a mask, show their vaccination card, be Covid tested (via rapid diagnostic), be checked for temperature, and be photographed. Yet, patients still got infected, so those facilities with even the best intentions still can be subject to unexpected circumstances. If you would like recommendations for quality nursing homes in New York State, please feel free to contact us.

FAQs for Choosing a Good Nursing Home

Senior Citizens
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What if there was no one to look after your elderly parents? You considered it but existing circumstances restrict you from taking her into your house. You thought about in-home care, but the costs are financially prohibitive. However, there is something you can do about it. You can take her to a good nursing home, but how do you go about finding the right nursing home for her? Let’s have a look at some common FAQs that you will need to ask in choosing a good nursing home for your elderly.

Is Your Nursing Home a Non-Profit Facility?

Nursing homes often work for for-profit as well as non-profit organizations, But most of them work on a nonprofit basis. In a nonprofit nursing home, the staff members work for the betterment and look after the health of the old people. Such types of organizations are not interested in making money; instead, they exclusively work for the healthcare industry. On the contrary, the nursing homes working for-profit focus and contribute towards the activities they are interested in.

What is the Level of Care for the Old People?

Granddaughter with her grandfather
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A nursing home is a place where old people are looked after. Credible nursing homes give topmost priority to old people’s care and do not compromise on the quality of care provided to them.

The highest level of care is given to adults unlike in hospitals. From getting in and out of bed to assisting in dressing, bathing, feeding, and even moving, a nursing home provides custodial care at every level to old people.

What are the Measures Taken for Safety?

Seniors playing chess
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You must never doubt the level of medical attention that an old person will receive in a nursing home. Though you are just trying to keep the aged person in a safer place you should never doubt the facilities of a nursing home as compared to that of a hospital. Nursing homes have precautionary measures for their safety. They have fire alarms, and different routes to escape from different floors, the staff is trained for evacuation drills, and the representatives take care of the belongings of your loved ones even in the worst of situations. Additionally, President Biden has set reforms for greater safety in nursing homes.

What About the Food?        

You would want your loved one to eat healthy and hygienic food, just like you. A credible nursing home always keeps a check on the hygiene of the food. Also, they give variety to their seniors by letting them choose from the menu. The meal is prepared considering their dietary requirements, age, and diet so that it is palatable, as well as healthy for them. If they do not like the food, they can ask for something else and it is served to them, keeping in view their taste and preference.

If you are going to take your loved ones to a nursing home, then you need to properly investigate nursing homes before making the final decision. While there may be many concerns that you would want to ask them about, there were a few to help you out.

Five Different Types of Care Facilities for Seniors

If you have a family member that needs a higher level of care that can’t be provided at home anymore, there are many different types of options available.

Retirement Communities

Retirement communities are also known as senior housing or independent living communities. In these types of facilities, senior residents have full control of their daily living. To live in this type of housing, a senior must be able to bathe and dress themselves, be mentally alert, able to walk, and use the bathroom independently. The housing styles of these facilities can range from single family homes, townhouses, and duplexes to condominiums and high rises. Many of these facilities offer police and fire protection as well as social and recreational activities. These facilities also provide meals, laundry service, and transportation.

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities are similar to independent living communities. These facilities are usually two to three story apartments that also provide 24 hour daily living assistance such as help with eating, bathing, and using the bathroom. These type of facilities do not offer medical services. Services included in assisted living facilities include laundry service, meals, housekeeping, social activities, medication assistance, and also include security and emergency calls.

Sheltered Housing

Sheltered housing is also known as residential care facilities or board and care homes. These types of facilities are best for seniors that need help with personal and medical issues. Most of these residences have 24 hour staff and are state licenses. Seniors at these homes must be able to dress and feed themselves and use the bathroom independently. At residential care facilities, seniors eat in a communal dining room and only need moderate supervision. Seniors can live in shared apartments, studio or one bedroom apartments with private bathrooms. Services offered can include meals, laundry service, housekeeping, and social activities.

Continuing Care Facilities

Continuing care communities are also known as multi-level care facilities, lifetime communities, CCRC’s, and active adult community homes. These type of residences are the most expensive option but provide independent living as long as possible while also providing skilled nursing care and medical treatment whenever needed. These types of communities are best for couples with different levels of independence, allowing them to remain together longer. A variety of services are offered at continuing care facilities such as banks, libraries, hair salons, common dining rooms, activity centers, gyms, and swimming pools. These communities operate like campuses, with living spaces that can include cottages, townhouses, and apartments.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes typically cater to seniors that are in need of some medical assistance, seriously ill or incapacitated and may need 24 hour supervision and care. Certified nursing assistants (CNA’s) assist residents with daily activities of living such as bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom. Many nursing homes also provide rehab services. Nursing homes are also called skilled nursing facilities. Much of the reimbursement of nursing homes comes from private pay, Medicare/Medicaid, VA, and private insurance.  

At skilled nursing facilities, the staff is made up of CAN’s, registered nurses (RN’s), licenses practical nurses (LPN’s), Doctors (MD’s & DO’s), Activities coordinators, Dietary staff, Cooks, and the Administrator. Many nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities offer medical care, pain management, feeding tubes, dialysis, memory care (Alzheimer’s), physical and respiratory therapy as well as help with daily living.

Nursing Home Doubles As Student Dorm

A nursing home located in Portland, Maine has taken on an innovative approach to connecting with its senior residents. Saint Joseph’s Rehabilitation and Residence has started a program called the Intergenerational Living Project. The program is a first of its kind in the area and adopts the concept from a program in the Netherlands that combines seniors, their families, and students in a shared living community.

The program has six students from Saint Joseph’s College, University of Southern Maine, and Southern Maine Community College, not only working at the nursing home but also living there for free. Each student must work a minimum of 16 hours a week as either a Certified Nursing Assistant or a Neighborhood Assistant and pays around 12$ an hour. The housing for the students is more spacious than any dorm and can fit a double bed, desk, bookshelves, television, and also boasts a private bathroom.

The program allows students to provide comfort and assistance to patients 24/7 and has patients teach the students valuable lessons. Resident Pat Flagg explains, “People are human; they have a day when they’re not very good and I hope they learn to live with that and look beyond it to see the person who is maybe unhappy or hurting and finding that out and relating to that problem.”

Administrator Peggy Farrington says she modeled the intergenerational living program after the same one in the Netherlands. Social isolation and loneliness in older men and women are associated with increased mortality. In the Humanitas retirement home in Deventer, Netherlands, six students from nearby universities share the building with about 160 seniors.

“The students bring the outside world in, there is lots of warmth and contact,” says Humanitas head Gea Sijpkes. The students can come and go as they please as long as they adhere to one rule: Don’t be a nuisance to the elderly residents. The students live in their rent-free apartments and are required to spend at least 30 hours per month acting as good neighbors. They do a variety of activists with the seniors including watching sports, celebrating birthdays, and offering company when the older residents fall ill. This helps decrease the seniors from feeling disconnected and alone, helping to ward off the negative effects of aging. Students also help teach residents new skills such as email, social media, and even Skype.

This integrated program is also gaining popularity. Two more nursing homes in the Netherlands opened with the same program and a similar program was recently introduced in Lyon, France. This new type of arrangement benefits everyone and brings warmth and love to a much-needed aging population while keeping costs down. Could this be the future of retirement homes? We’ll see.

How Nurses Play an Important Role at Nursing Homes

Nurses in nursing homes have tough jobs. They need to be appreciated more. There tends to be a bias against nurses when a patient complains. If an incident occurs, people (usually outsiders) will point to the staff stating that the nurses or other professionals are not doing their jobs properly, but case histories have shown that this is not always the case.  

Let’s examine the nurses’ functions at senior homes, which will help us get a better feel for what their daily responsibilities are and some of the difficult tasks they encounter when on the job.

Usually, as many of us are aware, good news and standard procedures that are not newsworthy never get top billing; subsequently, very little appreciation is shown for the staff when providing routine administrative and/or medical tasks at these homes.

Why Should Nurses be Appreciated?

It may look easy but caring for people in their old age can be quite of a challenge. They have their moods and preferences, their emotions are often heightened and meltdowns over the smallest of things can be an everyday routine; some also completely shut themselves up. They have health conditions that require constant attention and understanding in order to be handled well. Being in such an intense environment can often take a toll but a significant majority of nurses try to give their best to make the lives of the elderly and their stay at senior homes worthwhile.

Mental Illnesses

The most challenging part about senior living is dealing with mental illnesses. The life events and harshness of experiences often leaves them with a lot to deal with in old age. Additionally, the age and physical condition also take their toll. Many people fall victim to degenerative diseases in their old age. More often than not, they also face comorbid disorders and diseases which further worsen their condition. Disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s leave them completely dependent on others and unable to manage their most basic needs as well. Depression, too, is very common in old age. Nurses play a very important role as a communicator, supporter, friend and even more in giving the elderly the kind of attention they need. Their presence is often the source of happiness for many. A lot of nurses go out of their way to make sure that they are happy and comfortable.

Physical Illnesses

Physical healthcare is very important in the old age. The healthcare system itself is burdened with the problem of under-staffing due to the increasing number of people in old age; which is expected to increase further in the coming years. Attending to their medical needs, keeping everything up to date and organized, and providing instant care in case of an emergency constitutes the regular job of nurses. However, there are times where things take a turn for the worse and their condition deteriorates even further. We need to consider how emotionally and physically stressful the job of a nurse is. It is not easy to see people fighting diseases, loneliness, disorders and heartbreak.

Nurses work beyond their capacity in many places. A little appreciation can lift up their spirits and encourage them to give their best in the future too. A few black-sheep should not malign the hard, laborious and selfless efforts of the many hardworking individuals that perform their daily duties every day.

Four Key Benefits of Nursing Homes for Senior Parents

Howard Fensterman has been instrumental in helping nursing homes maintain high quality health care for their patients. Most nursing facilities provide private accommodations and personal care to a majority of folks that are elderly individuals; hence, the decision to move to a nursing home can be emotionally taxing for both the immediate family members and the senior parent.

Most often, family members try their best to take care of the individual. But the demands of the work involved or the illness can become difficult at times, especially if the family member is not well versed in medical care. Sooner or later, it may become mandatory to seek outside help. In such a situation, nursing homes are a viable option.

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Here are four main benefits of nursing homes for senior parents

Social Experiences

Nursing homes provide the best social experiences for the elderly individuals. They can take part in activities with other senior persons and share their life views and experiences.  Some of the nursing facilities also organize social events where all the residents of the nursing home can mingle together and share experiences.

As a result, the senior parent won’t succumb to the feelings of depression or melancholy due to being isolated. Most of the senior individuals that reside at nursing homes enjoy a quality time having fun with people of their own age group.

Assistance with Chores

Performing simple daily chores becomes difficult during the old age. Several senior individuals lose their ability to perform such simple tasks. Nursing home care professionals assist the senior individuals in performing activities such bathing, changing clothes, eating and drinking, driving, administering medicine, and using the restroom. What’s more, the help is offered to the senior individuals as a premium service and not as assistance due to being handicapped. This ensures that the senior persons don’t feel invalid in any way due to not being able to perform simple daily chores.

Round the Clock Medical Help

Nursing homes provide 24/7 medical help to the elderly individuals. Many nursing facilities have medical professionals onsite at all times. Living in the home will ensure the perfect safety of the senior patients and can offer immediate medical assistance in case of an emergency. This will ensure that your loved one is under the proper care and able to lead a good life without much physical or emotional pain.

Safety and Security

Another key advantage of a nursing home is that they offer a greater level of security as compared to home care or when the individual is living alone. Imagine the horror if the senior parent forgets to turn off the gas after cooking, or forgets to lock the door at night. Placing senior parents in a nursing home will offer a peace of mind in knowing that the loved and dear one is provided maximum protection and security, both during the day and night.

In conclusion, a nursing home is the best option when it comes to the care of the elderly parent. The senior individual can have a quality time socializing and engaging in fun and exciting activities. Also, the senior person would be offered round the clock medical help that will ensure maximum safety and protection of the individual. The decision to place in a nursing home care can be the best one you can make for your senior parent, particularly during the stage of life when the person can’t live without external assistance.





Retired Baby Boomers Enjoy an Active Life in Nursing Care

There are around 75 million baby boomers in America. Also known as the World War II baby boomers, it includes persons that are between the ages of 52 and 70 in 2016.

Nearly 3 million baby boomers will retire in the coming two decades. Most of them will depend on their immediate family members for care. To meet the long-term care needs of these individuals, the best option is a nursing home.

Advantages of a Nursing Home for the Baby Boomers

Whether you are a baby boomer or an immediate family member responsible for the care of the elderly individual, you should consider nursing homes that serve as a silver lining in the cloud for baby boomers.

Nursing homes provide the perfect opportunity for senior individuals to participate in social activities. The activities provide the platform for the residents to come to know each other and have quality time together. It gives the senior person the opportunity to lead a highly satisfied and active social life.

Nursing homes schedule a lot of activities that allows the residents to mingle with each other. All the individuals that reside in the nursing home are encouraged to take part in the social activities. The best part about these activities is that it allows the elderly baby boomer to enjoy a quality time.

After retirement, the senior individuals have limited opportunities to interact with others. Most of the immediate family members are busy with their own work and social life. In such a situation, the elderly person feels left out and neglected.

In a nursing home, the retired baby boomers will have no time to feel depressed or abandoned. The nursing home care professionals make sure that every resident is offered the opportunity that makes them feel an active member of a society.

Every activity is performed under the supervision of the nursing care providers. They are there to offer immediate medical help in case of an emergency. This ensures that the elderly individual is able to enjoy a quality time while remaining perfectly safe and protected.


A nursing home is a perfect option for baby boomers that are nearing retirements. It is particularly a good option for retired baby boomers living alone. Instead of sulking alone in the home, the senior individual can lead a socially active life at the nursing home. The senior persons will find their hours filled with quality time mingling with other retired senior individuals.

The benefits of a nursing home, however, go beyond allowing the baby boomers to lead a satisfying post-retirement life. The individuals are offered round the clock care in dealing with both daily chores and coping with difficult health conditions. It would be better and much safer for the aging baby boomer to spend quality time in a nursing home as compared to assisted home care.

When is Nursing Home Care Recommended for Seniors?

Happy Senior CitizensA common question among family members with senior loved ones is when is the best time to move the elderly from the home to a nursing home? While most senior persons prefer to live the remaining years after the retirement in their own home, sometimes their health conditions necessitate moving to a nursing facility.

A number of factors should be considered when deciding on the best option for the senior person. In this article, we will discuss some of the situations where a nursing home is preferable for the seniors instead of a home care.

1. Problems in Performing Daily Activity

A nursing home is a right choice when the senior individual cannot perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing, driving, and shopping grocery items. Nursing home care providers can help the senior individual in performing the daily chores.  

The friendly and welcoming professionals at the nursing home will ensure that the senior person has no problem while performing their daily tasks. This is especially helpful for senior individuals that suffer from physical or mental problems that prevent them from performing the daily chores.

2. Suffering from Health Disorders  

Taking Care of the ElderlySenior persons that are in advanced stages of Dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease can greatly benefit from nursing home care services. The nursing home ensures that the elderly individual is offered round the clock assistance and surveillance that is not possible when residing at the home. So, if the elderly individual suffers from a serious medical condition, moving him or her to a nursing home would be recommended.

3. Reside in Remote Place

If the senior resides in an area where immediate medical assistance is not possible, then the best option is to move the individual to a nursing home. The nursing homes offer facilities that ensure that the senior person gets the immediate medical service whenever needed.

In the unfortunate event that the senior individual suffers a heart attack, the nursing home care personnel will make sure that the person receives immediate medical care to minimize the damage.

4. Alone at Home

Dementia PatientA nursing home is a right option when the senior who is leading a post-retirement life is mostly alone at home. Nursing homes offer plenty of opportunities for the residents to lead a socially active life. Residents of the nursing home lead a satisfying life while taking part in a number of activities that are organized by the nursing home administration.

Most people want to live the remainder of their post-retirement life full of fun, joy, and laughter. Nursing homes can offer an environment for the elderly to live an active and enjoyable life. The facilities offered at the nursing homes can ensure that the senior person has quality time without facing any hardships that manifest due to advanced age.

Visiting the Elderly – A Habit That Can Keep Them Young

Daughter with father
Spending time with your elderly loved ones keeps them busy and healthier

Your grandmother is in a nursing home with whom you used to stay all the time with when she was home; we often feel sympathetic towards our elders who are living in a nursing home, but that is the only thing we do for them. How come we never consider visiting them? 

Most of us have a perception of nursing homes being a depressing place or that visiting our elders is not just cool enough. We are hugely mistaken on both accounts. First-off, the nursing homes of today not only provide the most excellent care to their elders, but also have many activities and other things planned that keep the elders occupied. Moreover, senior citizens get to meet people like them and of their own age. The only thing lacking from their life is a visit from their loved ones.

There are many good reasons for you to visit your beloved elder. Here are some of them:

Keeping A Check On Their Health:

They are your own flesh and blood and it is your responsibility to keep a check on their health. Visiting them once a week is good and visiting them every other day is even better. You’d know how they are doing, how they are being taken care of and would result in you being kept in the loop about their well-being. The elder person too feels secure and safe in the knowledge that someone is looking after them.

Mending Severed Ties:

There is always someone in the family who we never liked much or we never had a good relation with. However, that doesn’t mean that we put them out of our lives forever. It’s a harsh reality but at any point of time, those elders could be taking their last breaths. You don’t want them to die without saying sorry to them or without actually getting on good terms with them. Visiting elders you never liked will not only be good for your conscience, but will also give you a sense of closure. You will be surprised to know how many people actually become good friends only after reaching a very old age. So, don’t put your non-favorite people off your visiting list.

Helping them Feel Loved:

Blood relations can never be replaced by anyone or anything else in life and that is why most elders become very lonely, despite being surrounded by many others. Visits from you can change their life. They begin to show positive behavior, smile more and they wait for your visits every day. Most elders who are left by their family get very quiet and their health deteriorates quicker than the others. Visiting family and friends keep them young, healthy and happy. So, even when their time is up, they leave the world with a smile on their face. Imagine you being the reason for that smile!

If you have any elder in a nursing home right now, then make it a point to visit them as regularly as possible. They don’t need much and just your presence is enough to add life to their numbered days.



Moving to a Nursing Home – How to Deal with Emotions

Saying goodbyes is always a very difficult task. Now that it is time for your father, grandparent or any old member of your family to move to a nursing home, it may be a very stressful process. Regardless of the reason behind them moving to a nursing home, moving brings a number of different emotions along with some unforgettable memories and tears. One does not leave a place; instead, they leave behind some familiar and loving memories.

Moving to some other place is not easy. So, here’s a small guide to help you deal with the stressful emotions.

How to Ease the Transition?

Change cannot be accepted easily as after all, it is not easy to move on and accept things the way they are. But if you want to ease the transition, check out the elements below.

Take Time

If you are the one who has sent the elder member of the family to the nursing home or are yourself being moved to a nursing home, then it is for both. When the person sends someone to a nursing home, they may feel guilty about it as they might think that they were not able to care or look after them. They could also feel sad that their loved one has to go through the transition and difficulties. Also, the old person who is sent to the nursing home may not feel like they are at home and may not like the environment.

In both of these situations, both of you need to stay calm and patient, even though it not very easy to do so. In short, you need to take time. Only time can heal the emotions, change and transition. All you need to work hard on is to sweep aside the anger and grief under the rug. You anger and guilt will only intensify the feelings; hence, it is better to give time to things and yourself.

Make the Elder Person Decide

To ease the transition, you should let the older adult decide the nursing home. While there might be several options available, you should let them choose which nursing home to opt for and which one is best for them. Make them visit the nursing homes and leave the choice to them. If the older person is unable to do so, the members of the family should make a collective decision and make the process easier for them.

Stay in Touch

Staying in touch and in contact is of paramount importance. If you keep in touch with the person, it will make them feel like they are at home. You can call them, send them emails and letters to make them feel special. To help them ease through this transition, you can make visits with other family members and their friends as well. This is a good idea for change. Keep them in the loop about everything, be it a small or a big matter. Keep them informed about everything so that they do not feel left out of the family events and feel involved instead.

Change is not easy but we hope that with this guide, you will be able to deal with the transition and stressful emotions much more easily.