More than one in four rehab patients suffer injuries as a result of neglect, says federal report

Patients entering rehabilitation hospitals—such as those individuals recovering from a fall or stroke—are far more likely to receive some sort of injury than you may have previously thought. According to a report by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, 29 percent of patients in rehab hospitals suffer some sort of adverse event such as medication mix-ups, bed sores, and infections.

These findings fall in line with previous studies which found that upwards of twenty-five percent of hospital patients and one-third within “skilled nursing facilities” suffered some form of harm during their stays, according to ProPublica, which reported on the findings.

Even worse, almost half of these incidents sampled were found to have been either “clearly or likely preventable,” according to the report. Dr. David Classen, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah, commented, “We’re fooling ourselves if we say we have made improvement… If the first rule of health care is ‘do no harm,’ then we’re failing.”

The consensus among physicians familiar with these problems seems to be that “substandard treatment, inadequate monitoring, and failure to provide needed care” are to blame. According to the report, “almost half the cases, 46 percent, were related to medication errors.” Further, “40 percent of the cases in which patients were harmed were traced to lapses in routine monitoring that led to bedsores, constipation or falls.”

Not only are these errors dangerous, they are also costly. Nearly one-fourth of the injured patients had to be admitted to a traditional hospital, totaling about $7.7 million per month in expenses, according to the report.

So what is being done? The inspector general is working with Medicare and similar government agencies to try and reduce these needless errors by documenting a complete list of adverse events that occur in rehab hospitals.

Other than that, you and yours should remain diligent in monitoring your own caretakers or those of your loved ones. Try to stay up-to-date on the medications and procedures your doctor is recommending, and make sure you are given the proper dosages and timely treatment every time. If these preventative measures fail, know that you are not alone.

The attorneys at Miller, Butler, Schneider, Pawlik, & Rozzell, PLLC, have years of experience taking on rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes. If a loved one shows signs of abuse or neglect, or has died from suspected abuse or neglect, we are here to assist you in ensuring that those responsible face justice and are never able to do the same again. Call us today at 479.621.0006.

Miller, Butler, Schneider, Pawlik, & Rozzell, PLLC is your trusted team—when it counts.

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