Study Finds ICU Patients at Significant Risk for Adverse Events and Serious Errors

A new Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-funded study shows that patients face a significant risk for preventable adverse events and serious medical errors in hospital critical care units. Researchers found that over 20 percent of the patients admitted to two intensive care units at an academic hospital, a medical intensive care unit and a coronary critical care unit experienced an adverse event. Because these patients are among the sickest, they may be more vulnerable to errors in care, and therefore more susceptible to injury. Of the adverse events in the sample, almost half (45 percent) of them were preventable. A significant number of the adverse events involved medications-most commonly, giving patients the wrong dose. Over 90 percent of all incidents occurred during routine care, not on admission or during an emergency intervention. The study, “The Critical Care Safety Study: The incidence and nature of adverse events and serious medical errors in intensive care,” was published in the August issue of Critical Care Medicine. Select to read our press release and select to read the abstract in PubMed.
http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2005/icuerrpr.htm