In skilled nursing home facilities, approximately one-third of residents experience injuries and illnesses from substandard medical care, delayed treatments, and inadequate monitoring and supervision.
Medical Care Poses Risks to Nursing Home Residents
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, over 30% of Medicare patients in skilled nursing facilities are harmed by the treatments they receive. In most of these cases, at least 59% of adverse events can be prevented with proper medical care and supervision. More than 50% of residents who suffer harm have to be readmitted to a hospital for further medical treatment, surgical procedures, and complications from injuries.
Most adverse events in skilled nursing facilities are caused by the following conditions:
- Improper or poor medical care
- Misdiagnosis of illness or injury
- Failure to provide necessary treatment
- Delayed treatments and procedures
- Medical errors
- Lack of patient supervision and monitoring
Improper medical care accounts for 37% of patient injuries including falls, head trauma, broken bones, kidney failure, and blood clots. Medication errors account for 37% of patient injuries including internal bleeding, falls from dizziness or instability, mental delirium or confusion, nausea, vomiting, and constipation, and allergic reactions. Infections account for 26% of patient illnesses and injuries including pneumonia, urinary, and kidney problems, surgical and wound infections and sepsis. Lack of patient monitoring accounts for most cases of pressure ulcers, malnutrition, dehydration, and hygiene problems. Most patient deaths occur at hospitals after patients are transferred from skilled nursing facilities for further treatment, or in hospital emergency departments where injury or illness has progressed to an acute level.
Skilled nursing home facilities receive funding to treat Medicare and Medical patients. They provide specialized care and rehabilitation services to patients following a hospital stay of three days or more. In the United States, there are more than 15,000 skilled nursing facilities. About 90% of them are also certified as nursing homes that provide long-term care where nursing home abuse lawyers see a rise in yearly injuries.
Between 2000 and 2010, Medicare funding for skilled nursing facilities doubled to $26 billion. However, a 2010 report by the Inspector General for Health and Human Services showed an estimated 180,000 patient deaths in skilled nursing facilities across the country. In 2011, one-in-five Medicare patients who were hospitalized for medical care, surgical procedures, and acute illnesses or injuries spent time in a skilled nursing facility before being transferred to the hospital.