National Healthcare Issues Paper
If you were to ask 10 people what they believe to be the most significant issue facing healthcare today, you might get 10 different answers. Escalating costs? Regulation? Technology disruption? These and many other topics are worthy of discussion. Not surprisingly, much has been said in the research, within the profession, and in the news about these topics. Whether they are issues of finance, quality, workload, or outcomes, there is no shortage of changes to be addressed. In this Discussion, you examine a national healthcare issue and consider how that issue may impact your work setting. You also analyze how your organization has responded to this issue. To Prepare: • Review the Resources and select one current national healthcare issue/stressor to focus on. • Reflect on the current national healthcare issue/stressor you selected and think about how this issue/stressor may be addressed in your work setting. By Day 3 of Week 1 Post a description of the national healthcare issue/stressor you selected for analysis, and explain how the healthcare issue/stressor may impact your work setting. Then, describe how your health system work setting has responded to the healthcare issue/stressor, including a description of what changes may have been implemented. Be specific and provide examples.National Healthcare Issues Paper
Injuries are common health concerns affecting the US system. According to HealthyPeople 2020, both the intentional and unintentional injuries are among the 15 top causes of death in populations of all ages in the country. Among the population aged between 1 and 44 years, injuries are reported to be the leading cause of death and disabilities with an average annual death of over 180,000 people (Burns, Stevens & Lee, 2016). The consequences of injuries include lost productivity, increased heath cost, poor mental health disabilities, poor quality of life and premature deaths.National Healthcare Issues Paper
In hospital settings, falls are the major cause of injuries particularly to hospitalized patients. According to the world health organization (WHO), falls are the second leading cause of unintentional or accidental injuries globally with approximated 646,000 deaths (WHO, 2018). In the US, 1 out of 4 persons aged 65 years and above fall every year with at least one dying from falls and fall-related injuries every 19 minutes. In addition, one of the elderly adults is treated in the emergency room after every 11 seconds following a fall injury making them the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries as well as increased trauma-related hospital admissions. Hospital falls increase the cost of treatment. Haddad, Bergen & Florence (2019), estimated the annual cost of falls in the US to be $49.5 billion dollars which tends to strain both the national and healthcare budget.
Injuries related to hospital falls have significant impacts in the work setting. They are associated with long hospital stays, deaths, secondary infections, disability, dependency, increased morbidity and mortality among other consequences that undermine the efforts of high quality care delivery. For instance, long hospital stays translate to increased cost of care as the patient’s needs increase with time. They also result to congestion in the wards due to low discharge rates. As the needs increase, the healthcare professionals become overwhelmed by the increasing workload which eventually causes burnout and turnovers. In turn, this causes nursing shortage and delivery of poor quality services.
On the other hand, falls can cause multiple complications including mental conditions following head injuries which require specialized treatment and rehabilitation. Overwhelmed healthcare providers also experience mental instabilities following traumas and stresses experienced in their line of duty. Virtually all the consequences of falls in the work setting have devastating effects on the patients and the providers as well as the general healthcare organization with regard to social and economic aspects.
The health system work setting has responded to the issue of falls by setting up various measures. One of the responses is creation of awareness to the staff members regarding falls and offering fall prevention education. The cultural environment also engages patents in fall prevention efforts to help identify potential fall risks and set up preventive strategies. Consequently, multiple changes have been implemented in the healthcare setting to address the health concern. For example, adequate lighting has been installed within the wards and non-slippery floors as well as rails placed on the walkways and stairs, bathrooms and toilets. Moreover, bedside alarms have been installed to help in the detection of potential fall risks. These alert the providers on duty of movements that could result to falling as well as enable patient to press them in the event that they needed assistance with mobility. This has resulted to reduced fall rates in the hospital by 80% within three months of implementation.National Healthcare Issues Paper
Burns, E. R., Stevens, J. A., & Lee, R. (2016). The direct costs of fatal and non-fatal falls among older adults—United States. Journal of safety research, 58, 99-103.
Haddad, Y. K., Bergen, G., & Florence, C. (2019). Estimating the economic burden related to older adult falls by state. Journal of public health management and practice: JPHMP, 25(2), E17.
HealthyPeople 2020. (2020). Injury and Violence Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/injury-and-violence-prevention
World Health Organization. (2018). Falls. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/falls
National Healthcare Issues Paper