Patient Safety in the Home:
Assessment of Issues, Challenges & Opportunities

Report issued by the
Institute of Healthcare Improvement

The Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), with the mission of improving health and healthcare worldwide, has issued a new report: Patient Safety in the Home: Assessment of Issues, Challenges and Opportunities. The report is available for free download at http://www.ihi.org/resources/Pages/Publications/Patient-Safety-in-the-Home.aspx (You will need to include your e-mail address to receive the report, but don’t worry! This is a highly respected organization and our experience is that the IHI only uses your e-mail to alert you to new information about homecare-related resources.)

According to its Executive Summary, the report highlights and discusses the following issues:

  • Healthcare is shifting from facility-based care to home-based care.

  • Challenges to patient safety in the home include fragmentation of care, household hazards, ill-prepared family caregivers, limited training and regulation of home care workers, and inadequate communication among patients, caregivers, and providers.

  • The safety of home care nurses, and other home healthcare staff, is also a crucial home care safety issue.

  • Physical safety issues include environmental hazards, unsanitary conditions, medication mismanagement, infection control issues, inadequate nutrition, fall risks and complex clinical care and coordination needs.

  • Emotional safety concerns include stress, trauma and discomfort related to receiving and providing care in the home.

  • Social and functional safety issues include availability and access to equipment, resources, community and caregiver support to assure safety in the activities of daily living.