Malpractice claims against nurses are steadily on the rise in Illinois and across the nation in recent years. Claims rose from 17.2% of all types in 2017 to 20.3% in 2022. There are multiple factors that contribute to this significant increase in claims against nurses.
An increase need in aging services
It is no secret that the United States population is aging. Part of getting older is an increase in medical needs, and these increased needs means that the services of nurse practitioners are in higher demand. In 2020, the number of people who were 65 years of age and older were 55.7 million. In 2040, well over 80 million people are projected to fall into this age group. Approximately 14 million seniors are receiving some sort of long-term care, and this number is expected to rise significantly by 2050.
There is a physician shortage
Currently, our country is experiencing a physician shortage, and the problem is expected to worsen by 2030. Due to the shortage, seniors will face serious challenges accessing care that they need. Nurse practitioners are filling these rolls, and increasing numbers of patients are seeking care from them instead of doctors. Since more nurse practitioners are filling doctors’ shoes, this puts them at higher risk of having medical malpractice claims filed against them.
More staff is needed in facilities
Even though there is an increase of nurse practitioners in recent years, more staffing is still needed in facilities that provide care to seniors. This shortage leads to mistakes, such as the wrong diagnosis of illnesses and medication errors. Failure to properly treat pressure sores also accounts for the rise in claims.