What We're Reading: Nursing Home Problems; C diff. Spreads; New Autism Rate Out

HCR ManorCare, the second-largest nursing-home chain, exposed its roughly 25,000 patients to increasing health risks in the 5 years preceding its bankruptcy; Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, is spreading outside of healthcare settings like hospitals and nursing homes and scientists are not exactly sure why; the US government released new autism numbers.

Nursing Home Patients Put at Risk

HCR ManorCare, the second-largest nursing-home chain, exposed its roughly 25,000 patients to increasing health risks in the 5 years preceding its bankruptcy, according to the The Washington Post. The Post examined records of the chain, which was bought by private equity firm Carlyle Group, and found that the number of health-code violations rose 26% between 2013 and 2017 in 230 of the chain’s retirement homes. Over that period, the yearly number of health-code violations at company nursing homes rose from 1584 to almost 2000. The number of citations increased for, among other things, neither preventing nor treating bed sores; medication errors; not providing proper care for people who need special services such as injections, colostomies and prostheses; and not assisting patients with eating and personal hygiene.

C. diff Infections Spread Outside Healthcare Settings

Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, is spreading outside of healthcare settings like hospitals and nursing homes, and scientists are not exactly sure why, NPR reported. Traditional risk factors, like antibiotics and hospitalization, can no longer explain many infections. The CDC estimated that nearly 350,000 C. diff infections occurred outside of hospitals in 2011, and found that 46% were fully community-acquired and 36% had no antibiotic exposure. The bug was associated with nearly 30,000 deaths in 2011. Last year, researchers in California found that 1 in 10 emergency room patients with diarrhea tested positive for C. diff, and that 40% had no risk factors at all.

New Autism Estimate Out

How many children have autism? The New York Times said the US government answers that question at least 3 different ways and said the latest estimate doesn't necessarily mean the numbers are rising. The true occurrence of autism likely ranges from about 1 in 59 kids to 1 in 40 kids, considering all 3 surveys. The new number was published Monday in Pediatrics and is higher than a different survey's estimate published earlier this year. However, the surveys use different methods and measure different populations of kids so the results aren't really comparable.