Monday, March 10, 2014

One in Three Nursing Home Patients Are Harmed By Medical Errors

A recent government survey found that approximately one-third of patients who were discharged from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities, were harmed by treatments they received in the facilities. Most of the incidents could have been prevented, according to the report, which was conducted by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, Office of the Inspector General.

The survey was based on a large sampling of Medicare patients discharged from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities during a one-year period from 2011-2012, NPR reports. Problems observed in the nursing homes included errors related to patient monitoring, and medication errors.

Approximately 60 percent of nursing home residents were harmed by their treatment were readmitted to the hospital as a result, and the report estimates that such readmissions cost Medicare about $2.8 billion a year.

The American Health Care Association, which represents the nursing home industry, responded to the report, telling NPR that this study was conducted before the Association’s quality improvement initiative, which has been showing progress in skilled nursing facilities across the country.

An INQRI-funded study led by Linda Flynn and Dong-Churl Suh examined the “Impact of Nursing Structures and Processes on Medication Errors.” The multidisciplinary research team identified changes in nursing care processes needed to prevent medication errors as well as adjustments in nurse staffing and the practice environment that can facilitate interception of such errors.

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