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Nearly One Third of Patients in Rehab Hospitals Experience Harm

Posted Monday, August 29, 2016 by Alison Harper

Rehabilitation facilities are intended to provide patients with rigorous physical therapy to help them recover from an illness, injury, or surgery. However, in July 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General published a report indicating that 29% of patients in rehab hospitals suffered some kind of harm resulting from their care.

The organization arrived at this figure by reviewing the medical records of 417 Medicare beneficiaries after they were discharged from rehab facilities unaffiliated with hospitals. Making up 46% of the total number of harmful events, medication errors were the most common cause of harm, while 40% were caused by failures to adequately monitor or care for patients, resulting in falls, bedsores, and other adverse effects. The remaining 15% were incidents of infection. Although these adverse events only contributed to patient death less than 1% of the time, they could easily extend the period of recovery or require transfer to an acute-care hospital.

Additionally, physicians reviewing these cases found that 46% of the harmful events were clearly or likely preventable. They found that “substandard treatment, inadequate patient monitoring, and failure to provide needed treatment” were the most common causes of these preventable harms.

This is the latest in a series of similar studies, each of which focuses on a different type of healthcare facility, conducted by the same agency. The OIG’s November 2010 report found that 27% of patients suffered a similar kind of harm in hospitals, while the review of skilled nursing facilities published in February 2014 reported that 33% of patients experienced harmful events during their stays.

Sources:

Rehab Hospitals May Harm A Third Of Patients, Report Finds

ADVERSE EVENTS IN REHABILITATION HOSPITALS: NATIONAL INCIDENCE AMONG MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES

ADVERSE EVENTS IN SKILLED NURSING FACILITIES: NATIONAL INCIDENCE AMONG MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES

ADVERSE EVENTS IN HOSPITALS: NATIONAL INCIDENCE AMONG MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES

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