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Preventable Nursing Home Accidents in West Virginia

preventable nursing home accidents header
If you have a loved one who is a resident in a West Virginia nursing home, you have good reasons to be concerned about the quality of care and treatment provided by these facilities. While some injuries, illnesses or health conditions are unavoidable, a recent study issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revealed that 59 percent of nursing home accidents were preventable.

injured patientThe HHS study focused on estimating the rate of incidents in which a nursing home or skilled nursing facility patient was hospitalized and whether these incidents were preventable. The study defined an “adverse event” as those incidents in which a patient or resident has suffered some negative health issue as a result of medical care, or by the failure to provide the needed medical care. Temporary harm events are those incidents from which the patient recovered.

Some of the frightening facts that came out of the study included:

medicare beneficiaries

  • 22 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities experienced adverse events.
  • 11 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in skilled nursing facilities experienced temporary harm events.
  • 59 percent of these adverse events or temporary harm events were determined to be preventable.

The underlying reasons for the high rate of preventable accidents included:

  • Substandard care
  • Inadequate patient monitoring
  • Failure of necessary care
  • Delay of necessary care

The study reviewed data of adverse events involving hospital stays for 2008-2012. The problems found in nursing homes obviously pose a serious risk to the lives and health of the elderly in our country.
hospital stays

Adverse Events (Medication Related)

nursing home accident statistics adverse events

The study revealed that 37 percent of preventable adverse events were associated with medication, including:

  • Medication-induced delirium
  • Changes in mental status
  • Falls or other trauma with injury as a secondary effect of medication
  • Constipation, obstipation (severe constipation), ileus (painful obstruction)

Temporary Harm Events (Medication Related)

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43 percent of the temporary harm events were medication-related, including:

  • Drop in blood glucose
  • Fall associated with medication
  • Medication-induced delirium
  • Thrush
  • Allergic reactions (rashes, itching)
  • Other medication events

Adverse Events (Related to resident care)

nursing home accident statistics adverse events

The study also measured the adverse events associated with resident care, with 37 percent falling into this category, including:

  • Fall or other injury
  • Worsening of preexisting conditions from an omission of care
  • Acute kidney injury or insufficiency associate with failure in fluid maintenance
  • Fluid and electrolyte disorders (inadequate fluid management)
  • Venous thromboembolism (blood clot in vein)
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Other substandard care events

Temporary Harm Events (Related to resident care)

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Forty percent of temporary harm events were associated with resident care, including:

  • Pressure ulcers (bedsores)
  • Falls
  • Skin tears
  • Abrasions
  • Skin breakdown
  • Other resident care events

Adverse Events from Infections

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Of the adverse events reported, 26 percent were associated with infections, as follows:

  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Urinary tract infections (catheter care)
  • Clostridium difficile infection (infection, inflammation of large intestine)
  • Other infections

Temporary Harm Events from Infections:

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Of the temporary harm events, 17 percent were related to infections:

  • Infections from catheters (CAUTI)
  • Surgical site infections (wound care)
  • Other infections

Level of Harm to the Nursing Home Resident
The same study rated the level of adverse injuries to patients:
nursing home accidents statistics level of adverse injuries

  • 79 percent lead to a prolonged skilled nursing home stay, transfer to another facility, and/or hospitalization.
  • 14 percent required medical intervention to save the life of the patient.
  • Five percent contributed to or led to patient death.


West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

quality of nursing homesWe trust a nursing home to care for our loved ones and to provide the needed medical treatment and monitoring that will help them to have the best possible quality of life. Many of these patients suffer serious physical or mental impairments, health conditions, or diseases that will require ongoing treatment and care. The quality of care problems found in the study included inadequate discharge planning and a failure to comply with the standards of use of antipsychotic drugs issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), among others.

If your loved one has suffered an illness, worsened condition, a fall or other problem and had to be hospitalized or tragically died, it is important that you find out if the injury or death was associated with substandard care. Connect with a nursing home abuse lawyer in West Virginia to take action if your loved one was injured or died while under the care of a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, and he or she was the victim of substandard care, abuse, or neglect.

If your loved one is just starting to think about moving into a nursing home, learn how to pick the right West Virginia nursing home for you and gain secrets to keeping your loved one safe.


  • CMS: Dementia in Nursing Homes
  • OIG: Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries