Sepsis prevalent in Illinois nursing homes amid low staffing

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CHICAGO,  Ill. -A joint news investigation has found that deadly blood infections persist in Illinois' understaffed nursing homes.

The Chicago Tribune and Kaiser Health News found that about 6,000 Illinois nursing home residents a year who were hospitalized had sepsis, a bloodstream infection that can quickly turn fatal if not cared for properly. Data analysis says about 1 in 5 didn't survive.

Patient advocates say sepsis can be prevented by turning immobile people every two hours and taking other precautions. Both regulators and advocates blame poor staffing levels.

Illinois nursing homes have among the lowest staffing levels for nurses and aides in the country. Data figures show about 78 percent of staffing levels at Chicago area facilities fall below the national average.

Illinois nursing homes also fall below national norms for risks of pressure sores or failure to properly treat them.

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