Preventing Harm

What is "Preventing Harm"? 

Preventing harm includes many things. It's anything from starting your home care treatment in a timely way, to checking your home for things that may make it unsafe, to making sure you've had your flu or pneumonia shot, to teaching you about how to take your medicine or check your feet for sores if you have diabetes. All of these things are important to make sure we're looking past the diagnosis and treating you or your loved one as a whole person.

How is "Preventing Harm" used to measure quality?

Each of these areas can be used to measure quality for different reasons.

How often the home health team started care in a timely way:

In order to continue healing and getting better, it's important that once you leave the hospital or nursing facility, your treatment continues without delay. The number here measures how often home care services were started within two days of your return home or when the physician ordered home care to start.

How often the home health team taught you or your caregivers about your drugs: 

When people understand the reason why they are taking medicine, they're more likely to take them correctly and less likely to make a mistake that may cause harm. The nurses and other team members of UnityPoint at Home teach you:

  • When and how to take each drug 
  • How to tell whether each drug is working 
  • What side effects to watch for 
  • What to do if side effects happen

The numbers here show how often the home health team taught you or other caregivers about their drugs.

How often patients get better at taking their drugs correctly by mouth:

In order for medicine to work right it has to be taken correctly. Taking too much or too little can keep the drugs from working the way they are supposed to and could cause harm. The home health team helps teach ways to organize drugs and how to take them the right way. Taking drugs correctly means the home health team is doing a good job teaching you how to take your drugs and about the harm that can occur if they are not taken the right way.

The numbers here show how often the home health team helped you get better at taking your prescription and other drugs correctly (including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements). The measure includes only drugs taken by mouth.

How often the home health team checked for your risk of falling:

Falling can really hurt your progress when you are trying to heal. By looking for things in you home that could increase your risk of falling, the home health team is able to suggest ways to decrease that risk and help keep you safe. Some of the things your UnityPoint at Home care team check may include:

  • Your history of falling
  • A mental health condition
  • A drug regimen that includes many different drugs
  • Conditions in the home that may cause falls
  • Difficulty moving around
  • Difficulty getting to and from the toilet

The numbers here are only for patients who are 65 or older. They show how often our home health team checked to see if they might be in danger of falling down and hurting themselves.

How often the home health team checked for depression:

The home health team cares for your mental and physical health. Some people feel down after a major illness or injury. Being depressed can affect recovery and overall health. When people who may be depressed get the help they need, they are able to participate better in their care which helps speed recovery.

These numbers show how often the team checked to see if patients were feeling especially sad or depressed.

How often the home health team determined whether you received a flu shot for the current flu season or who received a pneumococcal vaccine (pneumonia shot):

If you need home health services, you may also be at risk of getting very sick from the flu or from pneumonia because you already have a medical condition that could affect your ability to fight these infections.

A yearly flu shot is an important way to keep from getting the flu. A pneumonia vaccine may help prevent some types of pneumonia.

These numbers show how often the team found out if you needed or already received a flu shot and how often the team found out if you needed or already received a pneumonia shot.

For patients with diabetes, how often the home health team got doctor's orders, gave foot care, and taught about foot care:

If you have diabetes, you are at risk for having problems with circulation in your feet. Because of that, you need regular foot care. Even a small problem like a cut or a blister can become serious. Regular foot care helps prevent these problems and keeps you healthy.

These numbers show how often the doctor's orders included diabetic foot care and how often the home health team checked the feet of patients with diabetes for problems and taught special foot care to patients or caregivers.