The Institute for Healthcare Improvement is committing the week of March 10-16, 2019 as Patient Safety Awareness Week. This week is an annual recognition event that encourages everyone to learn more about health care safety. They state that, “preventing harm in health care settings is a public health concern.” Preventing harm certainly is important in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities.
Patient Safety Statistics by The Institute for Healthcare Improvement:
- Current estimates place harm as a leading cause of death worldwide.
- Some studies suggest that medical error may cause as many as 400,000 deaths in the United States each year.
- Forty-one percent of Americans said they experienced a medical error in their care or the care of a close relative or friend.
- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that, at any time, 1 in 31 hospitalized patients has an infection acquired in the health setting.
- Medication errors and adverse events are among the most common mistakes in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
Error Vs. Neglect
Errors occur. However, one such error that cannot be excused is that of nursing home neglect. Medical negligence is classified this way when a doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional has failed to provide you with an acceptable standard or care. In a nursing home, an example of this could be when a bedridden patient is not positioned correctly to avoid bedsores or ulcers.
Medical errors are classified by adverse consequences that occur during the course of medical treatment. These are not entirely the result of negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse or healthcare professional. In most cases, these errors were unforeseen, unavoidable and unpreventable due to the inherent risks involved.
The Vulnerability of Elderly Patients
Elderly patients who reside in nursing homes are some of our most vulnerable citizens. Nursing homes have the critical responsibility to provide care for their vulnerable residents. Most elderly patients depend on the nursing home caregivers to feed, move and sometimes even speak for them. One way to help prevent nursing home neglect is to ensure that there is adequate staffing to care for the needs of each patient.
The Nursing Home Abuse Center (Protecting Our Seniors), states there are various steps you can take to keep your elderly loved one safe.
- If you are a caregiver yourself, look for trusted people who can provide additional care when you need a break to avoid becoming overly stressed or overwhelmed by your caregiving duties.
- Try not to become overburdened. This fatigued condition makes you more likely to become a perpetrator of elder abuse yourself.
- If your loved one is in a nursing facility, stay involved in the process. Observe for any signs of elder abuse or evidence that they are receiving adequate care from the staff.
- Be aware of any changes in your loved one’s appearance or mood, as this can indicate they are suffering from abuse.
One sign of neglect in elderly patients is the loss of weight. If the loss of weight is due to lack of balanced and sufficient nutrients and calories by the nursing home professionals, this is considered neglect. Malnutrition can lead to muscle loss, cognitive impairments, cardiovascular problems and many other health issues, including death.
Ligori & Sanders Attorneys At Law
If you have a loved one who has unexplained weight loss, this may be a sign of nursing home neglect. Contact Ligori & Sanders Attorneys at Law to discuss your claim and look at your legal options. If an injury or death has been caused by malnutrition, you may be able to seek compensation on behalf of your family member with a nursing home negligence claim.
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