Elderly patients that live in long-term care facilities in Ohio sometimes require treatment in hospitals. When nursing home patients are transferred to and from hospitals frequently, they are exposed to a high risk of serious harm from medical errors. According to a 2014 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 25 percent of nursing home patients are harmed shortly after they return from a hospital visit.
Most of the medical errors that occur at nursing homes after a patient has been hospitalized involve medications, patient monitoring and follow-up care. Many researchers believe that the responsibility to improve post-hospitalization care at nursing homes is shared by the hospital, the nursing home and the patient’s physician.
A study conducted by researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research looked at how nurse practitioners could be used to improve transitional care. Using the OPTIMISTIC patient transfer model, nurse practitioners assisted 600 patient transfers to and from hospitals and nursing homes. The nurse practitioners reviewed the hospital discharge summary and provided follow-up care and medication reconciliation. According to researchers, the involvement of the nurse practitioners reduced patient hospitalizations by 21 percent.
A nursing home patient may be harmed after a hospitalization if nursing home staff are not updated on the patient’s new medication and care needs. This could result in a worsened medical condition that requires additional periods of hospitalization. The family members of a loved one who has been harmed in such a manner may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney in order to see what recourse they may have.