Many times after a person encounters a serious medical problem that requires a stay in the hospital, that patient will be released into the care of what is known as a skilled nursing facility to complete his or her recovery. Basically, a lot of people who have surgeries spend some time in nursing homes working to get back on their feet. This has been typical of people who are on Medicare, and because of the nature of the program statistics can be gleaned and studied. This process can help to identify trends and perhaps problems as they arise.
Unfortunately, a recent study that was overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, or HHS, may have uncovered more of a problem than many thought existed beforehand. That problem relates to the overall quality of care that people receive in these skilled nursing facilities, as the data that was uncovered was not positive in nature. In fact, that data revealed a shockingly high amount of risk faced by people in this situation. A link to the study can be found here.The study involved reviewing the medical records of 653 patients during a one-month period in 2011. These patients stayed at more than 600 different facilities around the country. All of the patients were on Medicare at the time. Examples of the study’s findings include:
- One-third of the patients suffered some sort of medication error, infection or some other form of harm.
- 59 percent of the errors and injuries discovered were deemed preventable.
- More than half of those who were harmed had to return to the hospital.
- 22 percent of patients suffered what was termed lasting harm.
- 11 percent of patients were temporarily harmed.
- 1.5 percent of the patients died because of poor care.
All of this leads to the conclusion that on a national level, more than 20,000 people are harmed every month in the United States while staying in a skilled nursing facility and more than 1,500 people are killed. That’s nearly 250,000 injuries and more than 18,000 fatalities every year. In addition, all of these problems lead to nearly $3 billion being spent every year within the Medicare program for hospital stays and treatments because of these mistakes.
Perhaps what’s most troubling about this report is that the majority of the problems that were uncovered were seen as preventable. This means that the staff was not watching over these patients properly and that health risks were allowed to arise and progress before proper steps were taken to correct them. This also means that people who enter skilled nursing facilities need to understand that mistakes are made in such a setting.
If you or someone you love has been harmed as a result of faulty care while staying in one of these facilities, you need to protect your legal rights. Contact the Las Vegas injury lawyers at Bernstein & Poisson today to schedule a free initial consultation.