Patients at risk when hospital workers show up sick

From a story in Fierce Healthcare

tired nurses=decision regret

Fatigue leads to decision regret by nurses.

Hospital employees including nurses and doctors don’t want to let down patients or their own colleagues by calling in sick.  They know it will leave the facility short-staffed.  However, studies of hospital workers show working while sick is actually routine.

Researchers took swabs of employees and analyzed them and found workers were ill while taking care of patients over a six-month-period.  The employees were also found to have symptoms of “viral shedding” that can spread disease to other workers and even patients.

While many facilities have policies and procedures to curb infections such as mandatory shots and disinfectant foams at each entrance, staffing situations at hospitals can put pressure on nurses and doctors to still report to work.   A survey of workers reported that 46 percent say they continue to work while sick.

Patients can’t prevent their caregivers from being sick, but they can decide to go to facilities where staffing situations do

n’t force nurses, doctors, and other staff to come in when they should be recovering.

Patient Story

arlene townsend staffing award

Unsafe staffing costs a Florida facility $1 billion

From Trial Magazine, March 2014 issue: Trial Magazine, 3/11/14 VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS Arlene Townsend, 63 suffered a stroke and required 24-hour care. She was admitted to Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center, a nursing home owned by Trans Healthcare, Inc. In the three years leading up to her death, Townsend suffered numerous fall resulting in broken bones and lacerations, infections, significant weight loss, chronic constipation, skin breakdowns, dehydration, and other problems. She is survived by her adult son. Townsend’s estate sued Trans Healthcare, alleging that it had understaffed the nursing home to increase profits and failed to provide adequate care, including protecting Townsend from falls, ensuring a safe environment, and documenting changes to her condition. The court entered a judgment of liability against the defendant, and the…
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