Injury rehabilitation facilities are intended to be a place of healing and recovery. People that go to rehab are typically struggling with the consequences of a severe injury or recovering from a procedure, so the fact that so many people who seek help in rehab actually end up suffering more harm is alarming.
A recent study examined over 400 Medicare beneficiaries released from rehabilitation hospitals and found that nearly one-third suffered an adverse or temporary harm event during their stay. Nearly one-quarter of the adverse or temporary harm events resulted in a patient’s being transferred to an acute-care facility. These adverse events were also almost entirely preventable.
What is an Adverse Event?
An adverse event is a term used to describe some form of harm suffered by patients. Adverse events can include:
Infections – Healthcare-acquired infections include bloodstream infections, pneumonia, gastrointestinal illness, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. Through proper preventative measures, these infections could be reduced by up to 70 percent.
Bedsores – Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, occur when a patient is unable to move and has prolonged exposure to a surface, such as a bed or medical equipment. Bedsores can damage tissue and lead to other complications like infections.
Medication errors – Medication errors accounted for nearly half of all adverse or temporary harm events described in the study. They often occur when patients are given the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of a medication.
Slip and fall accidents – Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common causes of injury for older adults. Patients with physical limitations are also more likely to suffer injuries from a fall.
These events lead to several different types of injuries, ranging from temporary to permanent harm. In some cases in the study, life-sustaining intervention was required. In the most severe cases, patients died from the adverse event.
What Types of Patients are in Rehab Hospitals?
To be admitted to a rehab facility, a patient must be able to handle three hours of therapy each day for five days a week. On the surface, this requirement indicates that patients in rehab hospitals can tolerate a physically demanding therapy regimen. However, these patients still need thorough medical care, and it should not be assumed that just because they can handle several hours of physical therapy they deserve less attention than patients in hospitals or nursing homes.
Patients in rehab hospitals are struggling with a wide range of conditions, including neurological disorders, strokes, and substantial lower-body joint replacements. They need constant monitoring and extensive care. When a medical provider fails to meet the needs of rehab patients, they risk furthering their injuries and allowing a new injury or illness to occur. This is often the case with hospital-acquired infections, where patients pick up a serious infection that is unrelated to their original medical condition.
These Injuries are Preventable
Most of the harm suffered by patients in rehab facilities was entirely preventable. Much of it stemmed from inadequate care, mistakes by healthcare workers or some other form of error. In some of these situations, medical negligence might be the cause for the harm suffered by these patients.
When a patient suffers injuries or illness due to medical negligence, they should explore all legal options. A serious medical error can worsen a patient’s condition or create a new condition that requires more treatment. This can lead to expensive medical bills, pain, suffering and lost time at work.
A medical malpractice claim is a tool used by injured patients to receive compensation for the damages they have suffered. These claims should be handled by an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a rehab facility and you’d like to learn more about your legal rights, contact Steven H. Heisler. Steve has assisted many clients in these types of claims, and he will make sure that you have a dedicated advocate on your side. To contact Steven H. Heisler, fill out our online form or give us a call to schedule a free consultation.