High Rate Of Harm In Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs)

One of the critical issues regarding nursing home abuse (as well as abuse or neglect in other health care facilities such as hospitals or assisted living facilities) is the rate and number of incidents in which this abuse occurs.

A recent study offers various worrisome statistics regarding the number of incidents that may be occurring in such health care facilities.  As the report points out in the executive summary, although there has been “substantial” attention paid to patient safety in hospitals, less is known about patient safety in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

The study is the February 2014 The Department of Health and Human Services report titled “Adverse Events In Skilled Nursing Facilities:  National Incidents Among Medicare Beneficiaries.” (pdf)

The report focuses on resident care in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).  On page 2 it discusses SNFs and SNFs in relation to nursing homes:

The Social Security Act (SSA) §1819(a) defines a “SNF” as a facility engaged primarily in providing skilled nursing care and rehabilitation services for residents who require such care because of injury, disability, or illness. Although the term “SNF” refers to a provider that meets the Medicare Part A coverage requirements described above, 90 percent of SNFs are dually certified as both SNFs and nursing homes (i.e., long-term care providers).13

An excerpt from the report, indicating the study’s scope:

This study estimates the national incidence rate, preventability, and cost of adverse events in SNFs by using a two-stage medical record review to identify events for a sample of 653 Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospitals to SNFs for post-acute care. Sample beneficiaries had SNF stays of 35 days or less.

The report uses the term “adverse events,” which it defines on page 2:

The term “adverse event” describes harm to a patient or resident as a result of medical care.10 An adverse event indicates harm to the patient as a result of medical care, including the failure to provide needed care. Adverse events include medical errors but they may also include more general substandard care that results in patient or resident harm, such as infections caused by the use of contaminated equipment. However, adverse events do not always involve errors, negligence, or poor quality of care and are not always preventable.11,12

As to a summary of the reports findings, which are found in the executive summary:

An estimated 22 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse events during their SNF stays. An additional 11 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced temporary harm events during their SNF stays. Physician reviewers determined that 59 percent of these adverse events and temporary harm events were clearly or likely preventable. They attributed much of the preventable harm to substandard treatment, inadequate resident monitoring, and failure or delay of necessary care.

The report also contains a variety of other statistics as well as the methodologies employed.  Recommendations are also given regarding how SNFs can significantly reduce the incidence “of resident harm events.”

This report – as well as other statistics and numerous stories – should serve to indicate how prevalent accidents, injuries, and other forms of harm happen in SNFs and nursing homes.  As well, it is highly notable how many of these adverse events that lead to harm and injuries of nursing home residents are preventable in nature.

Those who have relatives or other loved ones staying in Illinois nursing homes or SNFs – as well as other health care facilities such as assisted living facilities, hospices, or hospitals – should be aware of the existence and frequency of these nursing home abuses and nursing home accidents.  As well, spotting signs of such incidents and acting upon them is imperative.

Should you or someone you care for happen to experience nursing home abuse or neglect – or an accident in a nursing home – please contact the Elman Law Group to discuss the situation and to see what legal remedies may exist.

Elman Law Group is a personal injury law firm based in Chicago, and is known for its litigation (court trial) capabilities.  This is important for your lawsuit because if we are unable to attain an appropriate settlement, we have a proven track record of achieving highly attractive court verdicts.

In fact, because of this litigation capability, many well-known law firms choose to have Elman Law Group litigate cases. 

To immediately speak directly to Tony Elman, Lead Attorney of the Elman Law Group, call (773) 392-8182 at any time.  There is no fee for this legal consultation.  

Elman Law Group, LLC handles Chicago area and other Illinois personal injury lawsuits as well as wrongful death lawsuits.