Use of Ventilators Increasing for Hospitalized Nursing Home Residents

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Oct 12, 2016 in Nursing Home Injury or Death

holding patients handAccording to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, more and more nursing home residents with advanced dementia are being put on mechanical ventilators when they are hospitalized, even though the treatment does not improve their chances of survival.

Researchers from Brown University and the University of Washington found that the number of residents with dementia who were treated with a mechanical ventilator doubled from 2000 to 2013.

Their research revealed that 39 out of 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries in this population of patients were put on mechanical ventilators in 2000. The ratio increased to 78 out of 1,000 by 2013, but the one-year mortality rate remained near 80 percent.

The study notes that putting patients with advanced dementia on a mechanical ventilator may actually prolong their suffering as this treatment has not been shown to improve their odds of survival.

That is why researchers emphasized the need for medical professionals to ensure that the use of a mechanical ventilator coincides with conditions set by the beneficiaries of the patient.

Researchers also advise skilled nursing providers to discuss a patient's prognosis with family members, including the benefits of hospitalization, if any.

Some Hospitals Are More Likely to Use Ventilators

Another important finding from the study is that hospitals with higher numbers of intensive care unit (ICU) beds put nursing home residents with dementia on ventilators in 10.6 percent of the cases analyzed in the study.

Meanwhile, hospitals with the lowest number of ICU beds put these patients on ventilators in just 4.5 percent of cases in the study.

Researchers also found that hospitals with high numbers of ICU beds received higher Medicare reimbursements compared to hospitals with fewer ICU beds.

The study emphasizes the importance of discussing the treatment of your loved one with the appropriate staff members at their nursing home. That way you can ensure they receive appropriate care given their particular health issues.

If your loved one has been mistreated or suffered abuse or neglect, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys today to review the situation in a free consultation. If your loved one is being abused, you may be entitled to compensation.

Call us today at 304-345-1700 or chat live with a legal representative.

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