Report finds most errors at hospitals go unreported
Hospital staff recognize and report only one out of every seven errors, accidents and other events that harm hospitalized Medicare patients, says a report
from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General. Hospital administrators concede it is likely that staff are not clear about which events they should report, given the wide range of harm to patients that can occur in hospitals.
The AFT is a longstanding advocate for patient safety. Unreported medical errors are a pervasive public health threat that can be eliminated only through systemwide reforms aimed at patient safety, says AFT president Randi Weingarten. "We need to shift from the current 'blame the employee' culture to an emphasis on providing safe staffing levels at hospitals and other medical facilities, and on giving workers a voice and a meaningful role in efforts to improve our entire healthcare system."
Read more on AFT.org and from the New York Times
Tracking health electronically
Nurses today often are expected to record health information electronically, which requires shifts in procedure, skills and patient interaction. The transition is cause for excitement and caution, NYSUT healthcare professionals say. Electronic reporting improves accountability and legibility, streamlines storage and provides support for clinical decisions; but it also lessens time spent with patients.
Learn more on NYSUT.org
New rules proposed for home health care workers
The growing demand for long-term in-home care has prompted the U.S. Department of Labor to propose new rules regarding provide minimum wage and overtime protections for nearly 2 million workers who provide in-home care services for the elderly and infirm. In proposing these new rules, the noted that even though the industry is growing, the earnings of in-home care workers are among the lowest in the service industry, impeding efforts to improve both jobs and care.
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka calls the proposal a win for consumers and the home care workforce. "Improved working conditions will attract new workers to this quickly growing industry while reducing turnover among existing employees. This will allow more families the choice of home-based care as a long-term care option."
Read more on AFT.org
Training community college students to implement health IT
An expected shortfall of 50,000 in the health IT workforce over the next five years has prompted a group of community colleges to find ways to quell any future worker shortages in health IT, reports Governing magazine. "… Not only are hospitals [and] physician practices looking for these qualified individuals, but so are vendor organizations," says Norma Morganti, executive director of the Midwest Community College Health Information Technology Consortium, which consists of 17 member colleges. The consortium will use a $15 million grant over a two-year period to train students in managing electronic health record systems as workflow designers; liaisons; trainers; and professionals who can install, implement and maintain EHR systems.
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Combating compassion fatigue
Compassion fatigue is a combination of both secondary traumatic stress from witnessing the suffering of others and burnout. It can result in feelings of sadness and despair that impair nurses’ health and well-being. It can reduce empathy and lead nurses to dread or avoid certain patients, raising the risk of substandard care. A Wall Street Journal article discusses innovative programs hospitals are using to fend off the constant assault on the minds (and hearts) of nurses.
Read more on WSJ.com