“Record number of reports, yet medical injuries exhibit a decrease in number”

“Record number of reports, yet medical injuries exhibit a decrease in number”

Every year, many people still suffer from medical injuries. In 2021, 87,000 patients were affected, which means that 238 hospital patients are injured unnecessarily each day due to preventable causes. However, the good news is that care injuries in Swedish hospitals have decreased by almost a third, with 49,000 fewer injuries in one year compared to ten years ago. This development is a result of effective security work and better identification and management of injuries by healthcare professionals, according to Pelle Gustafson, chief physician of LÖF-Patientförsäkringen.

It is worth noting that this positive trend is happening despite several challenges that the care sector faces, including limited staffing, overcrowding, and lack of expertise in some departments. Patients who are outsourced to areas without the right expert knowledge are at a higher risk of suffering medical injuries.

Contrary to the decrease in medical injuries, there has been a significant increase in notifications of medical injuries to LÖF-Patientförsäkringen, standing at approximately 20,500 notifications last year. Gustafson explains that the increase in reporting could be due to Sweden’s growing population, the provision of more healthcare services, and the ease of digital reporting.

Finally, the content highlights the success story of doctors at Scania University Hospital, who overcame a significant challenge of infections after back surgery.

There are still many people who suffer medical injuries every year.

In 2021, 87,000 patients were affected. That is 238 hospital patients a day who are injured unnecessarily by something that could have been avoided. But the development is going in the right direction.

Since Sweden’s municipalities and regions began their measurements ten years ago, care injuries in the country’s hospitals have decreased by just under a third. This means 49,000 fewer injured in one year compared to ten years ago.

– This is an effect of good security work that we should be happy and proud of. Healthcare has partly become better at identifying the injuries, partly at alleviating their consequences, says Pelle Gustafson, chief physician of LÖF-Patientförsäkringen.

Improvement despite major challenges

This positive development is taking place despite the challenges that care is struggling with, such as staff shortages, overcrowding and relocations.

Patients who are outsourced to other departments, where you do not have the right expert knowledge, are more than twice as likely to suffer health care injuries.

– We see that the hospitals are more aware that there is an increased risk and then follow up the patients in a special way, says Charlotta George, national head nurse and expert in patient safety at the National Board of Health and Welfare.

Fewer injuries despite more reports

While the number of medical injuries has decreased in recent years, there have never before been so many notifications of medical injuries to LÖF-Patientförsäkringen.

Last year they amounted to almost 20,500.

– It may seem a bit paradoxical that reports are increasing at the same time that we have fewer and fewer injuries. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that there are more of us in Sweden, that more healthcare is provided and that it has become easier to make a report digitally. Younger generations are more likely to report, says LÖF’s chief physician Pelle Gustafson.

A few years ago, at the surgery and orthopedic clinic at Scania University Hospital in Malmö, there were major problems with infections after back surgery. In the video above, the operating room nurses tell how they overcame the problem.


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