We all want the best for our loved ones and ourselves and that obviously includes hospital care. Unfortunately, Louisville-area hospitals did not score well in a recent national safety survey conducted by Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a Washington D. C. non-profit, which evaluated 2633 hospitals nationwide for its Fall 2016 survey.

Leapfrog assigns letter grades “A” through “F” after evaluating 30 performance measures including hygiene, medication errors, in-hospital patient injuries from falls and trauma, and hospital-acquired infection rates, among other factors.

No local area hospitals received an “F”, but none received an “A” either. Of the 2633 hospitals evaluated, 157 scored a grade of “D” and three of those were local hospitals. The closest hospital earning an “A” grade was King’s Daughters’ Hospital and Health Services in Madison, Indiana.

52 Kentucky hospitals were evaluated, and only 12 scored an “A” grade, ranking Kentucky 35thin the nation in hospital safety.

The local hospitals scoring “D” grades include Jewish Hospital, University of Louisville Hospital, and Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital.

Those earning “C” grades are Norton Hospital, Clark Memorial Hospital, Floyd Memorial Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital, and Jewish Hospital Shelbyville.

Four area hospitals earned “B” grades namely Norton Audubon Hospital, Baptist Health Louisville, Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and Baptist Hospital Northeast.

Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder explained the importance of choosing the best hospital for your care: “[P]atients should be aware that hospitals are not all equally competent at protecting them from injuries and infections.”

Choosing the right hospital can literally be a life and death decision. An estimated 440,000 people die each year in hospitals from preventable medical error, as many as 1000 per day. Statistics show you have a 1 in 25 chance of leaving the hospital with an infection you acquire while in the hospital. Many of these infections are “superbug” type infections that are resistant to antibiotics including C. diff and MRSA.

Improving hospital safety takes consistent effort and conscientious attention to details by staff and administration to reduce infection rates, and to prevent accidents and errors, but it can be done.

As patients and loved ones of patients, we also play a vital role in hospital safety. Leapfrog offers the following advice to make hospital safety a top priority:

  • Be proactive. If you see an error made or fear something may be wrong, speak up immediately. Don’t allow a preventable error to occur because you’re afraid to offend someone. Healthcare providers do their best but they do make mistakes.
  • Don’t wait to report an incident. If you see something happen, report it immediately to your healthcare provider or to someone in the hospital who can address the incident.
  • Let hospital personnel know you expect to hear back from someone about the issue you raised, and expect to learn what was done to address it.
  • Follow up with the hospital customer service or patient advocacy department if you do not hear back before leaving the hospital about how the incident was addressed.
  • Check to see if the hospital has an established system for reporting errors. Follow the procedure, and follow up.

Use this link to check out the safety grades of hospitals in your area so you can make an informed choice when choosing hospital care: www.hospitalsafetygrade.org

And if you have any questions about hospital safety, or if you or a loved one has suffered due to a failure in hospital safety, we are here to help.