As Home Care Expands, Let’s Make It Safer For Everyone

By Tejal Gandhi, Alice Bonner, Stephen Muething, Caitlin Lorincz, Patricia McTiernan: For More Info, Go Here…

If you live in the United States, chances are you know someone who is receiving or has received care at home. It could be an aging parent or grandparent who needs assistance with bathing, dressing, or preparing meals. Maybe a child with a disability in your neighborhood requires skilled nursing care. Or you may have a colleague recovering from surgery with the help of a visiting nurse who comes to the home to check vital signs and wound healing. Millions of people each year receive care from skilled professionals, unlicensed personal care attendants, and most often from unpaid family members or friends.

The sheer diversity of home care recipients, the settings in which they live, and the providers who care for them represent a challenge to creating the kind of safety programs that have become the standard in hospitals for both patients and care providers. While the risk of harm posed to patients and their caregivers in the home is less well understood than in other settings, existing data indicate that preventable harm is an important concern in home care.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, recently completed a two-part project, including convening an expert panel, to better understand the extent of safety issues in home care, what infrastructure already exist to advance safe care, and what the path forward looks like to reduce the risks for both care recipients and their caregivers. This blog post presents key findings from the project, with emphasis on the home care workforce. With home care being the fastest-growing piece of the health care pie, the time is ripe to take steps to improve safety.

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