According to a recent government report, those with family members in skilled nursing facilities may have reason to worry. A study of over 650 patients revealed that over a third of those admitted into skilled nursing establishments ended up either contracting an infection that they did not have prior to their admission, experiencing some form of medication error, or suffering some other type of harm that was related to the kind of treatment they received.
In fact, Pennsylvania residents may find it alarming to learn that the amount of harm patients in nursing homes suffered exceeded that of hospitals. According to the report nearly 59 percent of the injuries and errors which patients suffered were preventable. Furthermore, over half of the patients who suffered some kind of harm were readmitted to a hospital.
The report found that injuries the patients suffered were due to delays in treatment, lack of monitoring, substandard treatment or the absolute failure to furnish the necessary care. Some of the preventable adverse health events included blood clots, bleeding from anti-coagulants, kidney failure and fluid imbalances. In one case, a patient suffered a collapsed lung because the nursing home caregivers failed to recognize the condition. The same patient later had an adverse reaction to a medication and blood clot, and had to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
The study also estimated that in skilled nursing homes nationwide, nearly 22,000 patients were harmed, and a little over 1,500 lost their lives due to substandard care in just one month, August of 2011. Typically patient safety focuses on decreasing infections and surgical errors at hospitals; according to the study, little progress has been made to address similar issues in nursing homes.
Regardless of whether a loved one is in a nursing home, clinic or hospital, anyone who believes that their loved one received sub-standard care, was harmed or was left in a worsened condition can consider contacting a Philadelphia medication errors lawyer for their legal recourse.
Source: Pro Publica, “One third of skilled nursing patients harmed in treatment,” Marshall Allen, Mar. 3, 2014