If hospitals are supposed to make us better, why do they make some people sicker?
The things that cause people to be in a hospital – sickness, injury, surgery – also tend to weaken their immune systems. That means they are not as capable of fighting off the bacteria or viruses that cause infections. In healthcare circles, preventable infections that patients acquire during hospital treatment are called Healthcare Associated Infections (or HAIs).
The most common type of HAIs, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, are:
- Urinary tract infections (associated with use of a urinary catheter)
- Surgical site infections (e.g., along a surgical scar)
- Bloodstream infections (e.g., sepsis)
- Clostridium difficile (C. diff) bacterial infection – which can happen when bacteria in the digestive tract are thrown off balance by the use of antibiotics
Hospital teams work hard to prevent HAIs. With the right precautions, communication and procedures, hospitals and care teams can concentrate on healing their patients and help protect them from becoming sicker.
To help hospitals and patients, an independent nonprofit organization called The Leapfrog Group provides Hospital Safety Grades (other organizations do as well but The Leapfrog Group is the industry’s gold standard). Using publically available hospital safety data, Leapfrog assigns A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice a year. In Fall 2016, the average score was a B. Thirty evidence-based measures of patient safety are used in the rating system, including:
- How well hospitals prevent medical errors, injuries and infections within the hospital
- Communication methods between doctors and nurses
- Number of patient falls
- Number of C. diff infections
- Number of accidental cuts and tears during surgery
- Many other factors
Receiving “A” grades In the Fall 2016 edition of Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades the following HCA Midwest Health hospitals:
- Centerpoint Medical Center
- Lee’s Summit Medical Center
- Menorah Medical Center
- Overland Park Regional Medical Center
- Research Medical Center
This grade demonstrates the care and commitment of HCA Midwest Health’s doctors, nurses, clinicians and staff members to every patient and their families.
Hospitals have a duty to keep their patients safe from avoidable illnesses and accidents while in their care. Leapfrog Hospital Safety grades can help you make the best decision for yourself and your loved ones when in need of a hospital stay.