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Examining Infection Prevention Practices: A Deep Dive into Delaware Hospitals’ Safety Ratings

Recent safety assessments of Delaware hospitals by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit focused on healthcare transparency, reveal an interesting trend: not a single hospital in the state achieved an ‘A’ grade. Utilizing over 30 national performance measures, Leapfrog aims to spotlight areas where local healthcare facilities can improve. This approach is part of an ongoing effort to improve the quality and safety of healthcare systems and, consequently, decrease the number of hospital-related deaths — currently estimated to be 440,000 annually due to safety issues. The third most common cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer, are preventable errors and infections.

Leapfrog assigns grades to hospitals twice a year with the goal of helping consumers make informed decisions about their healthcare. The ratings are based on the hospitals’ performance in various areas, including infection prevention, patient support, errors, and accidents. Beebe Healthcare on Savannah Road in Lewes received a ‘C’ grade for the second time recently. Despite showing effectiveness in leadership and patient care, the hospital lagged in areas like sepsis infection management and ways to handle potent respiratory problems post-surgery. They also scored low on hand hygiene practices.

Bayhealth’s Sussex Campus in Milford showed better performance, earning a ‘B’ rating, mainly for their effective leadership and ability to prevent patient blood infections through cross-checks that ensure the right medication reaches the right patient. Despite the positive ratings in these areas, the hospital was below average in preventing surgical problems and managing bed sores and dangerous blood clots. Although TidalHealth Nanticoke in Seaford received a ‘C’ in Leapfrog’s safety score system, the hospital showed promise in timely responses from hospital staff, safe medication administration, and preventing harmful events after surgeries or childbirth. Areas of weak performance included nursing care and leaving dangerous objects in a patient’s body during surgery.

The healthcare facilities recommended by The Leapfrog Group appear committed to improving patient safety and quality of care. The Delaware Healthcare Association also noted their commitment to these principles, but expressed concerns regarding Leapfrog’s methodology. According to them, the data collected is not recent and may not reflect recent improvements, especially those made during the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, Missy Danforth, vice president of Leapfrog’s healthcare ratings, assures that the most current data is used when calculating hospital’s grades twice a year. Leapfrog’s ratings can be easily accessed online, providing consumers with valuable information to make educated healthcare decisions.


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