Too Many “Oops!” for Older Hospitalized Patients
“Could it have been prevented?”, the concerned family member asks , and, in way too many instances, the answer is “yes!”
A report from the Department of Health and Human Services reports that 14% of hospitalized Medicare patients suffered harms deemed “clearly or likely preventable”
1.5% of hospitalized Medicare patients died at least partly because of adverse events, primarily- medication errors.
HHS’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) concluded that 27% of beneficiaries receiving inpatient care experienced serious or temporary adverse effects, of which a large portion were ruled preventable.
“CMS [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] should provide further incentives for hospitals to reduce the incidence of adverse events through its payment and oversight functions,” beyond the current list of so-called never events that Medicare already refuses to reimburse, the report said.
64 types of adverse events, were counted. ranging from patient suicide to respiratory infection.
Overall, 31% of adverse events (preventable or not) were attributed to medications, as were 42% of incidents of “temporary harm” such as delirium, in which the patient needed medical intervention but had a quick and full recovery.