There are all kinds of ways to measure a hospital’s quality. An important measure is safety. One report prepared by a non-profit organization grades hospitals based solely on patient safety. That includes “how hospitals and other health care organizations protect their patients from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.”
In the most recent report, New Jersey, which previously had the largest percentage of hospitals with a grade of “A” dropped to the 13th in that category. Just six New Jersey hospitals earned this grade.
Compared to other states, however, we’re doing pretty well. Some 76% got either an “A” or “B,” compared to a national average of 54%. None of our hospitals received a “D” or “F.”
While HAIs are down, so is the number of nurses
One area where hospitals overall have improved is in the number of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) like staph, urinary tract and bloodstream infections in recent years. Staffing shortages, however, have become a serious safety concern for hospitals and other medical facilities, with no end to the problem in sight.
Approximately a third of nurses working in hospitals have left their jobs in recent years. Burnout, exhaustion and concern for their own mental health and physical safety have driven many nurses into easier, higher-paying opportunities. Strikes among nurses and other types of hospital employees here and throughout the country have led to further staffing issues.
This grading system can be helpful to patients and their families who can choose a hospital for a procedure or treatment. Many times, however, people have no option. They have to go where their doctor has privileges or where their insurance will cover the greatest amount of the cost. In some areas, there may be only one hospital – and that could still be some distance away. Obviously, in an emergency, you may have no say in where you’re transported.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm that you believe could and should have been prevented by a doctor or other medical professional or by the facility itself, it’s crucial to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. This is the best way to find out whether you have a valid malpractice case.