An estimated 44,000 to 98,000 people die each year from medical errors, making patient safety one of the nation’s most pressing health care challenges.
- In the Medicare population alone, one in seven beneficiaries is harmed during the course of care, costing tax payers an estimated $4.4 billion a year.
- Of Medicare patients discharged from the hospital, nearly one in five is readmitted within 30 days accounting for about 2.6 million seniors at a cost of over $26 billion every year.
- Each year 100,000 patients in hospitals and nursing homes in this country die from infection they acquired after being in a health care facility.
- In nursing homes, infections contribute to 380,000 deaths per year, with costs reaching $2 billion.
Mountain-Pacific works with nursing home staff, administrators and others to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers, the use of physical restraints and the occurrence of health care-associated infections and illnesses.
Pressure ulcers, commonly known as bedsores, occur anywhere on the body where there is constant pressure and poor circulation. The skin becomes red and irritated. Left untreated, open sores develop and can lead to the destruction of tissue, muscle and even bone. Not only do they have severe and painful consequences for immobile residents, they are also costly and time consuming to treat. However, they are preventable injuries that can be avoided with the right precautions. Mountain-Pacific collaborates with local communities to reduce the rates of pressure ulcers.
There was a time when physical restraints were a common sight in nursing homes. Both caregivers and family members believed they were acting in the best interest of the resident. Since then, medical research has produced evidence that restraints do not protect the nursing home resident and, in fact, may even cause harm. To help nursing homes safeguard the well-being of their residents, Mountain-Pacific collaborates with nursing homes in the states we serve to reduce the unnecessary use of physical restraints.
According to some reports, more than 1 million cases of catheter-associated urinary tract infections, or CAUTIs, occur each year in U.S. hospitals and nursing homes. CAUTIs lengthen hospital stays and increase the costs of care. A single incident will add $500 to $1,000 to the direct costs of acute-care hospitalization. Urinary catheters are inserted in more than 5 million patients per year. The risk of a patient acquiring a CAUTI can be reduced by ensuring that catheters are inserted only when necessary, that they are placed using proper sterile techniques, that they are removed as soon as possible and that the closed sterile drainage system is maintained.
An adverse drug event (ADE) is an unexpected or dangerous reaction to medication. People 65 and older are especially prone to these adverse events, because as the occurrence of illness increases with age, so does the frequency of prescription drug use. This threatens the safety and health of older patients and nursing home residents.
ADEs can be avoided by adjusting health care systems to more readily detect and prevent potential risks associated with patients who have chronic conditions, are treated by multiple physicians or caregivers or take many different medications.
Nursing Home Compare
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides information on the quality of care given at all Medicare-certified nursing homes nationwide. Nursing Home Compare can be accessed at http://www.medicare.gov/. This site is a good first step in selecting care for yourself or a loved one. Discussions with your physician and other health care providers, family and friends should also provide you with useful information.