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Nurses may help prevent hospital transfer errors

For many Pennsylvania residents who reside in a nursing home, the trips to and from the hospital can result in medical errors and poor followup. It is estimated that these errors cause serious harm to one in four nursing home residents. According to research from an Indiana University study, having nurse practitioners can significantly improve the transfer process to reduce the number of errors.

The aim of the study is to improve both the care and the communication between nursing homes and care facilities. During the study, nursing practitioners visited the nursing home residents within 48 hours after they returned from the health care facility. During the visit, they reviewed the discharge summary, checked the medication they were provided with and provide any follow-up care needed. These visits lasted about 102 minutes on average.

Of the 515 visits, more than half of them found care issues that were addressed. About 33 percent of the problems were linked to the nursing home itself while 32 percent were linked to the physicians who saw the patients. Approximately 29 percent of the visits had problems that traced back to the discharge from the hospital. The visits ultimately resulted in a 21 percent decrease in hospitalizations.

Nursing home errors can result in tremendous harm to a patient, including a worsened medical condition that requires aggressive treatment and lengthy periods of hospitalization. The family members of an elderly 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.

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