Hospital-acquired Conditions Essay
Hospital-acquired conditions are these that get to a patient, while in the hospital environment. The leading causes of these conditions are poor environmental setups in hospitals, as well as irresponsibility on the part of medical practitioners. This has been observed in most public, as well as private hospitals. In fact, it has caused some people to dread the idea of taking their loved ones to some hospitals. This essay deals with the issues surrounding these hospital-acquired infections in the US and the rest of the world. The issues that are associated with hospital-acquired conditions, as well as some solutions have been discussed in detail.
In the discussion of this issue, most researchers focus on hospital-acquired infections. However, this approach may cause the omission of vital conditions that may not develop from direct infection. Patients can acquire these conditions in many ways. The first guiding factor is the condition of the patient. For example, a patient that requires surgery is under the risk of having an object left in his/her body after the surgery. Another example is that of an unconscious patient. On waking up, this patient is under the risk of falling off. The reason for this is that they may not know their environment. Therefore, the conditions that a patient can acquire during their stay in hospital depends on the condition that has brought them there (Kenney 2010).
In a hospital environment, negligence takes place when the practitioners fail to study the patient. Therefore, they do not take the necessary precautions to prevent acquiring of such conditions. There are a few cases that may occur due to accidents. Little room can be left for that. However, a higher percentage of these conditions is caused by negligence and lack of professionalism. There is a long list of the conditions that can be acquired by a patient during their stay in hospital. Some of them may include development of ulcers, transfusion with incompatible blood, injuries from fall and many others. The physical conditions are caused by direct actions of the medical practitioners. For example, leaving an object in the body after surgery is caused by direct action. The other way these conditions can occur is due to negligence. For example, a hospital facility may be lacking the necessary hygiene for the patients. This way, these patients, leading to serious conditions, can develop infections (Kenney 2010).
Value Based Purchasing
When one is taken to hospital, it is, normally, a matter of their lives. It is impossible for emergency patients to go and negotiate for better prices before the delivery of services. For example, when people are involved in an accident, they are normally taken to hospital, as an emergency. The priority is saving their lives. Therefore, there is no time to negotiate on the price of the treatment received. After the patient is treated, he/she is required to pay for the services provided, according to the terms of the hospital. In most cases, when the patient dies, compensation is still expected from the people who claim his/her body. In some cases, the patient may have died as a result of infections that are developed while in the hospital. This is where the idea of value based purchasing comes in (Porter & Teisberg 2006).
Value based purchasing refers to the paying for gods and services according to their quality. The customer does not pay for the goods, unless they are delivered in the best way. Recently, this system has been adopted in the health sector. Value-based purchasing may be one of the most effective introductions into the world of medicine. The reason for this conclusion is that there is so much incompetence and professionalism in medical practitioners. Hospital-acquired conditions can take many forms. As a matter of fact, the range of ideas that can be developed from all these conditions cannot be exhausted in a single essay. For this reason, there was a need to narrow down the scope, in a bid to have a better analysis of hospital-acquired conditions. Harm related to falls is the most reported acquired condition in hospitals. Part of the reason is that it is one of the most open conditions. The other explanation is that it occurs more frequently that the others. This means that it has been utilized to analyze hospital-acquired conditions. In fact, most experts have agreed that value based purchasing can be the solution to elimination of incompetence by workers in the medical field. Therefore, it has also been used as a major reference, in terms of solutions to this problem in healthcare (Ashton 2013).
Harm Related to falls
When someone is out of their consciousness, they are admitted to the hospital, without the risk that they might turn and fall off the bed.The injuries that were pre-existent on the patient while being admitted are known as POA (present on admission). These prior breakages cannot be viewed as the fault of medical practitioners, since they were not responsible for the patient at the time of occurrence. However, the risk of falling off comes when the patient starts regaining their consciousness. In the case that they fall off, this leads to immediate development of breakages that were not preexistent. Depending on the injuries that he/she acquires, the patient’s life may be in much more danger, in comparison with the arrival time. The major cause of falls and the subsequent harm is poor and lack of close monitoring. When in the hospital, the ratio of the nurses to patients should not be very low. This allows every patient to get regular attention from a nurse. This is not seen or observed in most hospitals. In most cases, there are many patients, being served by a few nurses. In such a case, the patients are at a high risk of falling off and being injured (Bevolo & Helena 2011).
When a patient falls off the bed, leading to further injury or death, the hospital should take full responsibility of this. The fact that the hospital should not be paid for its services is an understatement. There should be a legal system that deals with such cases. Professionalism should be practiced in all sectors. This means that the hospital, along with its management should be sued of neglecting their patients leading to more harm. Such incidents show that a hospital does not take any precautionary measures when dealing with its patients. The result of this is that many patient’s lives are put in danger. Instead of random allocation of nurses, a specific nurse should be allocated for every patient. There should be one who takes the fault if a particular patient gets injured in the hospital. In the long run, this can reduce the occurrences by a considerable percentage. On a general view, it is correct to say that hospital-acquired conditions can be averted and prevented.
A popular argument by most medical practitioners is that accidents will always occur. They claim that they have little power on the possibility of occurrence of accidents. It is true that accidents cannot be separated from the lives of human beings. As long as people are alive, accidents will have to occur. However, this does not mean that people should fail in the performance of their duties, using this fact as an excuse. Research shows that a large percentage of the accidents that happen can be prevented. This leads to a conclusion that most accidents are caused by the negligence of the involved parties. In the hospital environment, it is evident that those hospitals with the best management practices have less of these cases occurring. This shows that the occurrence of these conditions is not inevitable. (Berry & Seltman 2008).
Most people cannot draw the relationship between the law and the medicine world. However, there are cases when the two become inseparable. For example, when medical practitioners engage in activities that endanger the lives of their citizens, the law has to be applied appropriately. In cases where a patient is brought in an unconscious state, there should be constant communication between the medical practitioners and the members of the family. The reason behind this is that they might share information that can be used to help in the recovery of the patient. The other fact is that they might share information that can potentially prevent the occurrence of hospital-acquired conditions. A good example is that of a patient with epilepsy. The family might think that it is not important to give such information to the medical team. When such a patient suffers an attack, they might fall off the bed and get injured. This is because the hospital may not give him/her the attention of an epileptic patient. Such a patient should receive close care from the medical team, throughout the stay in the hospital. Sometimes, a hospital may receive more patients than its capacity. In the case of emergencies, it is difficult for them to refer patients to other hospitals. Therefore, they need to place their patients in the order of priorities. The patients that receive the most attention are the ones with the highest risk. Although this might be the fault of the family, the medical practitioners should also work on their communication skills. They should relate well with the family members and drill out all the important information from them (Hammaker 2010).
The medical practitioners should also give adequate information to the family of the client. For example, a patient may fall from the bed and acquire lethal injuries. It is unfair for a family to lose their loved one to injuries that they do not know about. Therefore, any developments to the condition of the patient should be communicated to the family members. It does not matter if it will incriminate the medical facility. They have the right to know if the patient is doing well of deteriorating. At times, discovery of additional breakages may be difficult for family members. This is, especially, if the patient was already injured before coming to the hospital.
Hospitals should inform the patient, as well as the patient, in the case that they acquire some conditions during their stay in the hospital. The only fact that they must remember is that it should be carried out in the most professional way. Bad news may have the result of worsening a bad situation, depending on the method of delivery. This suggests that medical practitioners need better communication skills, in a bid to enhance their relationships with clients. The delivery of such news can cause problems for the hospital. This is because the family can decide to use litigation, as a result of the occurrence of the condition. However, this should not deter the doctor from giving this information. The decision of using litigation lies with the family members. This is where the family decides to engage in the filing of a lawsuit against the hospital. The reason behind this is that the occurrence of some of these conditions proves that someone neglected their duties. This can initiate the decision to use the law in the quest for justice. However, there are families that chose to let the hospital off the hook, considering the fact that they revealed the information in the first place. They chose to reward the honesty, although they still have the option to file a lawsuit. In such a case, they can have a settlement that does not involve judicial means. This would mean less pressure on the hospital management (Filetoth 2008).
Accreditation refers to the issuance of evidence that any organization is performing its duties in the best way possible. It is used to show if an organization is competent. Concerning this issue, those hospitals that have many cases of hospital-acquired illnesses should not be accredited. Every hospital should be required to keep proper details on the conditions of the patients before and after leaving the hospital.
These records can be used to determine the cases of conditions that ere acquired in the hospital environment. The public should fear hospitals that are not accredited. This is because it is proof of the lack of professionalism in the organization. The other way to accredit the organization is to employ people who can study the services provided in the hospital on a daily basis. They can gauge the standards that are maintained and make decisions on whether they should accredit them or not. In the case of private hospitals, the lack of accreditation would mean bad business. Therefore, this is an endeavor that would function to improve the quality of services in such hospitals (Rivera 2009).
The board has a variety of expectations, based on the results. Every patient in a hospital should have an individual record. This is to keep track of any development of infections, illnesses and conditions while in the hospital. This way, it would be easier to establish which hospitals are performing their duties as required of them. For the hospitals with none or a few cases of hospital acquired illnesses, they should qualify for accreditation. For those with many such cases, they should not be accredited, to prevent them from causing more harm to their patients.
It shows that the whole hospital has no value for the human lives that have been placed in their hands. These are hospitals that should not be entrusted with the duty to deliver medical services to patients.
This accreditation would be the envy of every hospital management. This is because it is direct proof of their commitment, as well as an advertising strategy. This means that it would put most managers under pressure. However, individual managers cannot bear all this pressure. Instead, it is transferred and distributed to all the staff members. None of them is allowed to display any lack of professionalism in the display of services. With time, the cased of patients falling from their beds would reduce drastically. On the side of the managers, staffing is the main issue in hand. This is because the presence of inadequate nurses is the real cause of the lack of close monitory. To get the accreditation, most managers would take a step to ensure that they have enough nurses to handle all the patients that they admit. The alternative would be that they admit higher number of patients compared to that which their staff can hold. This is the place, from which the entire problem develops. Some of the ways to improve quality in the hospital have been discussed in the next part. (Charney 2012).
Outcome of Continuous Quality Monitoring
Most organizations in the world have come up with strategies to enhance their performance. Some of these strategies can also be applied in hospitals. One of these strategies is the formation of overseeing bodies in the hospitals. The work of these bodies is to ensure that the services provided, as well as the conditions maintained, reach the required standards. The advantage of these committees is that they are built internally. Therefore, they are in a position to scrutinize the slightest details in the work done by every employee. In addition, workers are likely to support a body that is built internally. With time, they will embrace it and start increasing their industry at work. This is an endeavor that can prevent the acquiring of these hospital conditions by the visiting patients.
The other major strategy comes from the problem of in adequate resources. Therefore, it is directed to the individuals that are in charge of the hospital facilities. It is difficult for an employee to deliver in a place with inadequate facilities. This is beyond their power. Basically, inadequate facilities require the employees to use more effort, in their quest to deliver services of the required quality. Therefore, this can be regarded as failure of the management. In fact, there should be external auditors that study the budget of the hospital. After this study, they should decide if the owners have spent enough money in their facility. The decision would be guided by the size of the facility. Harsh punishment should be implemented to the hospitals with unethical budgets. This ensures that proper allocation of resources is carried out in all medical facilities
Finally, empowerment of employees should be one of the most emphasized strategies. The nurses should be educated and informed of the dangers associated with ineffective work in the hospital environment. They should understand the reasons why their work needs to reach certain standards. The organizations that deliver the best results achieve this through the use of a motivated set of workers. For a long time, the use of empowerment has been seen to deliver better results than any rules in an organization. The reason behind this is that it creates self-drive. At the same time, it creates harmony in the working environment. This is because the workers are listening to a single voice. Of all the other organizations and institutions, the hospital is the one that should need such a motivated workforce the most. This institution is entrusted with many lives. It is not, just, a profit making organization. The quality of services it delivers is used as a measure of its success. (Ashton Acton 2013)
Of all the strategies that have been analyzed, empowerment of employees can prove to be the best. This is also the case in other organizations. The reason behind this is that empowering employees takes a permanent root in the organization. When the employees have been motivated, minimal supervision is required to establish their progress. There is no need for close monitoring of their activities, as long as they stay motivated. This motivation also brings them close to their superiors. This means that they fit in well at the work place. In the free environment, they also raise their views on how they would like improvements to be made. Considering the cost of other endeavors, such as acquiring resources, employee empowerment is the best strategy for hospital environment.
There are numerous institutions and organizations that have initiated change, in a bid to improve the hospital conditions. One of these changes was initiated by Robert wood, who was the sole funder of the program. The major aim of this program was the reduction of congestion of patients who had emergency cases. This endeavor was also aimed at ensuring that the patients visiting the hospital were allowed to flow without much inconvenience. According to the statement of their objectives, they aimed at eliminating and averting hospital-acquired conditions in patients. Some institutions have made use of process reengineering. In this, the processes in the medical field are examined by the use of new methods. St Francis hospital acted as an example of this process. This was when they laid down all their employees and hired a new workforce. The major work of this new group was studying the whole medical process and trying to change it for the better. (Rivera 2009).
The prevention of hospital-acquired conditions requires massive education of hospital staff. Some medical practitioners fail to perform the required duties due to the lack of knowledge. An employee might have the knowledge in the medical world, but no wisdom. There is a need to educate the members on the dangers of failing to meet the required standards. They should know the importance of carrying out their duties as required. This ensures that all the workers know the consequences of failing to reach certain standards. Apart from education, research is another tool that can be used in the elimination of this menace. When a hospital engages in thorough research, it is able to establish the common errors and mistakes that cause failure in their employees. These researchers should be chosen from within the group. They can carry out their research and document it for reviewing. In the long run, cases of incompetency can be dealt with from their actual roots. (Ashton Acton 2013).
The lack of unity in any organization causes things to go wrong. In a hospital environment, this could mean the loss of lives. When members of the hospital work together, they are able to help each other in the performing of duties. For example, when one member is not in a position to deliver their services, due to inconveniences, another member may cover for them and prevent any problems that may arise from the same. With reference to this topic, it is clear that teamwork can reduce the occurrence of hospital-acquired conditions by a large factor.
Paired with the promotion of teamwork, the hospital can strive to acquire latest technology in their facilities. This ensures that the welfare of the patients is protected through the best means possible. From this whole analysis, it is clear that this menace can only be eliminated by the use of joint efforts from all parties involved. (Rivera 2009).
Role of the Government
The major characters that have been mentioned in this menace are the patient, the hospital and bodies meant to regulate the occurrence of hospital-acquired infection. This has left out an important party, the government. The government is important in reduction of such occurrences because of the power that it has. Most patients in a nation go to public hospitals. These hospitals are owned and run by the government. Therefore, analyzing these hospitals would directly mean analyzing the government. However, the government is not able to handle all the work associated with the hospitals. Therefore, they delegate some of their work to other parties. These parties can be used in the reviews of the hospitals. This cannot happen without the support of the government (Teitelbaum & Wilensky 2013).
Organizations such as Medicare and Medicaid have a huge task ahead of them. This is because the hospitals that may be requiring their analysis may be numerous. The first problem that they may encounter is the lack of jurisdiction in their work. They may be denied access to some information from hospitals. This is where the government should step in and empower them. The other huge challenge that they would have is that of inadequate finances. Such an endeavor may require huge financial investment. The government can step in and assist these bodies with the necessary finances to carry out their activities successfully. Finally, it is the role of the government to come up with laws against negligence in hospitals. The efficiency of legislation cannot be undermined. The government has the power to ensure that there are consequences for hospitals that do not display professionalism. This can go a long way in ensuring that the occurrence of hospital-acquired infections is reduced massively (Herbert 2012).
The essay above proves that hospital-acquired conditions occur in everyday life. It shows that some of them are so severe that they endanger the lives of the victims. On the other hand, there is proof that they can be reduce, or better yet, prevented. Serious actions should be taken to ensure that they do not recur. However, these cases will always have to be present. In such a case, there should be efforts to ensure thatv the hospitals take full responsibility. Medicare and Medicaid are organizations in the US which function to ensure appropriate compensation in case of this occurrence. This promotes competency and professionalism. However, they should also ensure that the family that lost their loved ones to irresponsible acts are reimbursed accordingly. The hospitals with such incidents should not be accredited. Instead, they should be made to pay for their lack of professionalism in the delivery of their services. Patients that could be in this danger can be saved from such incompetent doctors.