Gone are the days of week-long hospital stays for routine medical operations. As health care organizations work on reducing costs by shortening hospital stays, more and more patients are finding themselves in skilled nursing care facilities for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, a new study reveals that skilled nursing care facility stays may be more dangerous than hospital stays for many Medicare patients.
There are over 15,000 skilled nursing care facilities throughout the United States. Facilities with “skilled nursing care” provide specialized post-acute care and rehabilitation services to patients following a three day or longer hospital stay. Almost 90% of skilled nursing care facilities also are certified nursing homes which provide longer lengths of care. Medicare spending on skilled nursing care facilities has reached the $26 billion mark as approximately 20% of Medicare patients who are hospitalized spend time in a skilled nursing care facility after their hospital discharge.
According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, skilled nursing care facilities have a higher rate of medical errors than hospitals. The study examined over 600 Medicare cases between 2008 and 2012. Almost 22,000 skilled nursing care patients are harmed each month as a result of medical malpractice.
Among the most common types of medical errors suffered in skilled nursing facilities are:
The study indicated that 22% of skilled nursing care facility residents suffered some type of permanent injury while at the facility. Injuries included bedsores, broken bones, infections (including pneumonia and urinary tract infections), blood clots, fluid imbalances, kidney failure, excessive bleeding, exacerbation of preexisting conditions and even death. Often, the injuries resulted in readmission to the hospital, resulting in significant financial costs and emotional distress.
Additional information can be found in the complete report, “Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries.”
The dedicated medical malpractice attorneys at Galfand Berger applaud those skilled nursing care facilities where patient safety is placed at the highest priority. Unfortunately, not every skilled nursing care facility places patient safety over profit, resulting in preventable medical errors.
If you or your loved one has suffered injury while living in a skilled nursing care facility, our Allentown malpractice attorneys can assist you in obtaining compensation for your injuries. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, our attorneys handle all types of personal injury matters throughout Pennsylvania, including the Harrisburg and Allentown region, as well as the South Jersey area. To schedule your free consultation today, call Galfand Berger at 1-800-222-8792 or contact us online.