October 24, 2010

Critical Information Often Not Shared Between Nursing Home and Hospital

by Levin & Perconti

The Wall Street Journal blog recently explained a frequent and little known problem facing many nursing home residents who need emergency medical care: miscommunication between nursing home staff and hospitals.

A new Joint Commission study explains that far too often one medical provider (such as a nursing home) fails to adequately share vital medical information about the patient. For example, when a resident is rushed to the emergency room, it is vital that the ER staff be made aware of drug allergies from which the resident suffers. This basic sharing of information is often the difference between life and death.

However, that information sharing often does not occur. The latest study found that over 37% of these transfers were defective, with certain information not being shared correctly. With thousands of transfers occurring every day, the effect of these errors is astounding. In fact, some experts believe that these deficiencies are the cause over about 80% of all medical mistakes.

Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti are committed to holding all professionals accountable for the care provided to vulnerable seniors. Under no circumstances should a resident die or suffer severe complications because their nursing home caregivers fail to share important information when being transferred to other caregivers. The transfer of residents to emergency rooms is a very frequent occurrence; therefore nursing home staff should be well-versed in protocols that share important, life-saving information to hospital personnel.

If you or someone you know may have been at victim of miscommunication between a nursing home and a local hospital, please contact a nursing home lawyer to learn more about the legal options.