Medicare patients who go to rehabilitation hospitals and centers have a high rate of preventable injuries caused by improper care and treatments.
Rehabilitation Injuries can be Prevented
A recent report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services shows that 29 percent of patients in rehabilitation facilities sustain injuries caused by improper treatment, and 46 percent of these injuries are likely preventable. Since most Medicare rehab facilities require patients to undergo at least three hours of physical and occupational therapy per day, five days a week, patients are presumed to be healthier than patients in hospital and/or nursing home settings.
Rehabilitation facilities provide a crucial part of healing with physical exercises and workouts for patients who are recovering from certain illnesses and diseases, injuries and disabilities, surgeries, and strokes. Physicians who reviewed Medicare cases from numerous rehab facilities around the country say that almost half of the 158 injuries noted among 417 patients were clearly preventable. Many patients sustained injuries due to substandard care received during prolonged hospital stays, hospital transfers, and medical interventions. Others sustained injuries due to falls, infections, bedsores, and medication errors.
Patient falls caused by slippery floors and medical conditions that cause dizziness and loss of balance contribute to many rehab facility injuries. While some falls are unavoidable, others are caused by staff negligence. Some patients suffer falls while under the care of distracted workers, and some are even dropped.
Dangerous infections can occur after surgeries. Bacteria can enter the body through surgical wound sites, feeding tubes, and catheter lines. Rehabilitation facilities frequently work with post-surgery patients, but they are not equipped to treat serious infections.
Immobilized patients and patients with physical disabilities are commonly sent to rehabilitation facilities. Many of these patients develop bedsores caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin. Without diligent care, patients can sustain serious infections and life-threatening injuries during rehabilitation.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, many rehabilitation facilities are understaffed or staffed with caregivers who provide substandard care and insufficient patient monitoring. As a result, one in three patients are victims of medication errors that contribute to serious injuries in rehab facilities.
Rehabilitation center injuries range from mild to severe and temporary to permanent. In elderly patients with existing health issues, an injury sustained during physical rehabilitation that’s meant to improve a condition can lead to permanent disability, life-threatening injuries, and even death.