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Keywords:

  • home healthcare errors;
  • long-term adverse events;
  • nurses';
  • care errors;
  • patient safety home;
  • health

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimates that every year 44,000 to 98,000 people die due to errors in hospitals, costing approximately $37.6 billion each year (2000). However, limited data are available detailing the extent of healthcare errors outside of hospitals. A cross-sectional study was conducted to assess how home health nurses perceive and deal with errors. A convenience sample of home health agencies (N = 33) located in a Southeastern state participated in the study. Packets containing sealed surveys, a flier, and a description of the study were mailed to the nurses. Nurses were asked to complete a survey about their most significant care error and how they responded. Results from the study on home health nurses' perceptions (N = 203) indicate that the perceived care errors were medication (40%), laboratory (15.5%), wound care (6.5%), scheduling and wrong patient visits (6%), teaching-care errors (5%), and needle sticks (1%). Medication errors remain the most commonly occurring error in the home healthcare area.