The opioid crisis that hit the Boston area hard has also left an indelible impact on the medical profession. From over-prescribing physicians to addicted nurses, the shock waves continue to reverberate throughout the Boston medical community.
Hospice brings to mind a gentle, end-of-life transition into whatever realm lies ahead, according to the tenets of your belief system (or not).
According to a report from last year, the majority of nursing homes underreport their short staffing issues to the relevant governmental oversight agencies.
Data from England's University of Southampton confirmed what astute patients and their advocates have known all along: Hospitals with fewer registered nurses on staff experience higher mortality levels. It's logical to extrapolate that a dearth of nurses means that those who are working will not be able to deliver adequate care to their patients.
When you are a patient in a hospital or a resident of a nursing home, the last thing that you want to worry about is whether the nurse in charge of providing your care is sleep deprived. After all, patients are both vulnerable and dependent upon their nurses for the most basic tasks when they are hospitalized.
Patients have to have a certain level of trust in their doctors, nurses and other health care providers. Otherwise, they would never be able to place their lives in these medical professionals' hands.
It happens all too often. A patient enters the hospital for a routine surgery but doesn't leave alive. The reasons can be complex but sometimes are deceptively simple. In fact, a study conducted at John Hopkins University found that more than 250,000 patients die annually in America because of preventable medical errors.
Making the decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home or assisted living center is often fraught with guilt and worry. That's understandable, since one-third of the residents and patients in skilled nursing facilities experience harm like infections and medication errors related to their treatment.
The medical community is hardly immune from the opioid epidemic in this country. In fact, doctors, nurses and other staff members may steal medication from patients -- especially patients who aren't theirs.
One of the scariest things about being in a hospital is that you have a lot of different people handling your care -- while that sounds like it might be comforting, it can end up being a recipe for confusion.