Preventable harm and medical error remain major sources of injury and death among nursing home residents and hospital patients, according to a recent national survey conducted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago. Often, these incidents of hospital or nursing home abuse and neglect had a long-term or permanent impact on the patient’s physical health, emotional health, financial well being, or family relationships.

Yet, nearly half of those who say they experienced, witnessed or suspected harm or error at a medical or nursing facility never told someone on staff at the facility where the incident occurred, the survey revealed. Most of those who didn’t speak up said that they did not believe it would do any good or didn’t know how to report the error.

But these incidents shouldn’t fall on deaf ears. Speaking up and asking questions is something everyone is entitled to, and is the focus of this year’s Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW). The annual campaign kicked off March 11 with a variety of events aimed at bringing together and engaging health care professionals and patients.

As part of Patient Safety Awareness Week, IHI (@TheIHI) is hosting a Twitter Chat on Friday, March 16, from noon to 1 p.m. EST, titled Building a Safety Culture. During the Twitter Chat, governmental, advocacy and professional organizations and individuals will share questions, challenges, and strategies to advance a safety culture in health care.

Everyone is invited to participate by using the event hashtag #PSAW18. Also, throughout Patient Safety Awareness Week, IHI is encouraging people to participate by taking a pledge for patient safety or honoring a loved one touched by medical harm on social media. Speaking out is one of the best ways to raise awareness and create change.

Residents of nursing homes have certain rights and protections under federal and state laws aimed at protecting against elder abuse and neglect. If you have experienced or suspect abuse or neglect has occurred with you or a family member, please speak up and, if necessary, seek legal representation.

Source: United for Patient Safety

Chris Boutwell

Chris handles toxic tort and nursing home abuse and neglect cases.


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