Tag Archives: safety

Getting sources on the record when loved ones are involved

Photo : Kelsey Kremer, Des Moines RegisterLinnea and Gailen Clausen share a moment outside the central Iowa nursing home where he lives, three hours away from their northwest Iowa home. Other nursing homes rejected Gailen Clausen, 55, because his early onset dementia caused confusion and anxiety, which sometimes led him to be aggressive toward staff.

Nursing homes are supposed to be places that care for ill, frail adults — many of whom also suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The disease takes a terrible toll on those who have it, whether it’s forgetting who their loved ones are, forgetting how to eat or use the toilet, or sliding into a state of agitation and violence. That’s the time when more nursing homes are saying “enough.”

And, as Tony Leys writes in this article for the Des Moines Register last fall, they’re kicking them out, sometimes even if there’s nowhere else for them to go. Continue reading

Report offers scenarios on how EHRs can pose safety risks to patients – and questions reporters should ask

Photo: Blake Facey via Flickr

Poor usability and design flaws of electronic health records (EHRs) can pose safety risks to patients, according to recent studies.

A recently-issued report urges more oversight and post-market testing to ensure that EHRs don’t inadvertently harm patients. The report was the result of a collaboration of the Pew Charitable Trusts, the American Medical Association and MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare.

The 57-page report may be helpful for journalists who seek to familiarize themselves with some of the existing usability problems with EHRs, and how they can pose a risk to patients. Continue reading

New tip sheet outlines what reporters should ask about security risks of medical devices

Photo: Dennis Skley via Flickr

The global ransomware attack involving WannaCry earlier this month exposed the vulnerabilities of computer systems worldwide.

But there’s one area even more at risk: medical devices. And that risk is growing, experts warn.

In a new AHCJ tip sheet, I describe how medical device security has become a growing concern and why journalists should pay attention. Continue reading

Report on these unintended health consequences of municipal budget cuts

Photo: emilydickinsonridesabmx via Flikr

Photo: emilydickinsonridesabmx via Flikr

Much of the local news over the Independence Day weekend focused such as fireworks safety, beach traffic, flags and parades. But a brief article by Samuel Johnson, the public information officer of the Baltimore Fire Department, caught my attention — and had nothing to do with the holiday.

Many budget-crunched municipalities have been forced to cut back on essential services, such as police and fire personnel. Some firehouses have even closed. That increases the risk for everyone who lives near one — especially older adults and particularly in the summer months. Continue reading

Calif. reporter finds dearth of public records on assisted-living homes

Photo by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Photo by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

I knew next to nothing about the fast-growing assisted-living industry when I started reporting in early 2013 on problem homes in San Diego.

For example, I did not know that many seniors in today’s assisted-living homes are so frail and medically needy that they would have been in nursing homes 20 or 30 years ago. Many live in facilities with no medically trained staff.

Most astonishing to me was the lack of public access to state regulatory reports revealing the quality of care in homes, not only in California but nationally. We’re so accustomed to NursingHomeCompare and HospitalCompare – whatever their flaws – that the hoops families and journalists must leap through to judge an assisted-living home’s quality seem downright primitive. Continue reading