Skilled Nursing Facilities Doing Patients More Harm Than Good?

Discharge to a skilled nursing home setting is very common, especially as insurers regularly trying to limit the length of hospital stays in order to cut costs. Patients frequently undergo their rehabilitation or recovery in a skilled nursing facility after a stroke or other serious health problem. Unfortunately, the treatment provided in these facilities often falls far short of expectations in many cases. woman-in-hospital-1051476-m.jpg

When a skilled nursing facility provides substandard care, the patient who is harmed may take legal action. A nursing home neglect lawyer in Spartanburg can represent patients and families.

Skilled Nursing Facilities are Endangering Patients

Pro Publica reported on a recent study of skilled nursing facilities conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The study took a close look at the treatment being provided to patients discharged from acute care hospitals.

The focus was on the first 35 days of care a patient received in skilled facilities. There were more than 600 facilities involved in the study, which included 653 Medicare patients. Doctors working with the Inspector General’s office carefully reviewed the medical records of these patients to find out the impact of the care provided in the facility.

Unfortunately, many of the patients received treatment that was not only inadequate but was actually dangerous. For example:

  • An estimated 22 percent of patients in skilled care facilities experienced treatment that resulted in lasting harm.
  • Approximately 11 percent of the studied patients experienced temporary harm as a direct result of poor care or mistakes made in skilled treatment facilities.
  • An estimated 1.5 percent of the patients involved in the study were killed by the substandard medical treatment that they received. These were patients who were sick and who had multiple illnesses, but who had been expected to survive upon being discharged to the facility for rehabilitation or recovery.
  • Around 1/3 of the patients under the care of skilled nursing facilities were harmed by medication mistakes or treatment errors.
  • As many as 59 percent of the mistakes made in providing care for patients were preventable errors.
  • More than half of the patients who were harmed by substandard treatment were readmitted to hospitals for further medical care. The estimated cost of providing this additional treatment was around $208 million in the single month that the study covered.

The massive economic cost and the tremendous physical toll that this substandard treatment takes on patients is unacceptable. Skilled nursing facilities need to do much better in providing assistance to patients who are released from hospitals and who come to the facility for help getting better. Patients and family members of those who suffer harm or whose prognosis is adversely affected by treatment errors need to take legal action to hold these facilities accountable for the harm that they cause.

If you’ve been injured, contact Lee Law Offices for an initial consultation by calling 800-887-1965.

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