Emergency Room Visits Can Bring Infection Back to Nursing Homes

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An emergency department visit may triple the risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections for nursing home residents, researchers found. The rate of new acute respiratory or GI infections was 5% within a week of an emergency department visit compared with 2% when not leaving the long-term care facility, according to Caroline Quach, MD, of McGill University in Montreal, and colleagues.

Quach’s study examined outcomes at 22 nursing homes in Ontario and Quebec during the months of September 2006 to May 2008 when a trip to the emergency department would most likely result in cold, flu, and gastroenteritis exposure. Among the 1,269 residents included in the study, 424 visited the emergency department during these periods.

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