4 strategies to reduce medical errors in post-acute care

On July 22, the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses — representing more than 18,000 nurses — announced recommendations for the reduction of medical errors in response to a report recently issued by HHS' Office of the Inspector General, which found nearly half of all adverse events that occur in rehabilitation hospitals are preventable.

"The overall issue that needs to be addressed is that the rate of adverse events is occurring at similar rates across the PAC [post-acute care] continuum and in all healthcare settings," said Cheryl Lehman, PhD, RN, president of the ARN. "We know that every year, more than 10 million Medicare beneficiaries are admitted to a PAC setting. These beneficiaries are some of the frailest and most vulnerable individuals who are living longer in their disease trajectories. Unfortunately the current case management model has failed to promote the consistent utilization of clinicians skilled in advocating on behalf of the best interests of patients and their families. Our philosophy is such that rehabilitation is a team approach with the patient at the center of the team."

The ARN's recommendations to reduce the occurrence of medical errors in post-acute care settings are:

1. Implement competency requirements to ensure staff have the appropriate skills and licensure to deliver safe and effective care.

2. Rehabilitation hospitals implement useful and meaningful measures when assessing for quality.

3. Improve communication during patient transitions to make sure patient data is accurately documented and accessible across care settings.

4. Conduct quality improvement initiatives to support staff in achieving positive outcomes, patient satisfaction, nurse satisfaction and the prevention of patient readmissions.

More articles on quality: 
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center marks 6,000th liver transplant 
Few surgeons apologize for medical errors, study finds 
Almost half of adverse events in rehab hospitals are preventable, HHS finds

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