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Nursing Assistant Monthly Copyright © 2012 Delmar, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. October 2012 Common lawsuits in nursing homes: Helping to prevent them
Copyright © 2012 Delmar, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. October 2012 Preventing lawsuits What is a civil lawsuit? A way of settling disputes between people or organizations In health care or nursing home litigation: –An injured person (or his representative) files a lawsuit –Medical and legal experts examine the facts –Compensation may be awarded depending on the facts of the case Most nursing home lawsuits are civil matters
Copyright © 2012 Delmar, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. October 2012 Preventing lawsuits What is a criminal lawsuit? Involves a crime (or alleged crime) Examples in health care or nursing home litigation: –Abuse/intentional harm of a resident or patient –Staff stealing medication –Stealing from a resident or patient
Copyright © 2012 Delmar, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. October 2012 Preventing lawsuits Causes of nursing home lawsuits Common triggers: –Falls –Skin breakdown –Failure to address a resident’s change of condition –Abuse
Copyright © 2012 Delmar, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. October 2012 Preventing lawsuits What can a CNA do?— #1 Promptly communicate to the nurse any change in condition Examples: –Swallowing difficulty, coughing, sputtering when eating/drinking –Less alert than usual, new confusion –Skin redness or breakdown –Anything that doesn’t seem right—even if you aren’t sure
Copyright © 2012 Delmar, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. October 2012 Preventing lawsuits What can a CNA do?— #2 Know and uphold resident’s rights –Residents have many rights by law Examples: –The right to be treated with dignity and respect –The right to refuse care or treatment –The right to make decisions about how to spend their time –The right to be free from abuse If you are uncertain how to handle a situation, ask the nurse or supervisor
Copyright © 2012 Delmar, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. October 2012 Preventing lawsuits What can a CNA do?— #3 Communicate with family members –Be proactive –Initiate conversation with the family –Do they have any questions? –If you don’t know the answers… NEVER say, “That’s not my job.” INSTEAD SAY, “I don’t know the answer but let’s find out.”
Copyright © 2012 Delmar, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. October 2012 Preventing lawsuits What can a CNA do?— #4 Document properly –Know your facility’s policies on CNA documentation –Try to document promptly Don’t wait until the end of your shift—you could forget something important –Write clearly and legibly
Copyright © 2012 Delmar, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved. October 2012 Preventing lawsuits Can all lawsuits be prevented? Even the best facilities can get sued due to: –Unforeseen events –Angry or unrealistic family members –Unpreventable injury or illness in a resident When you do your best as a CNA, you help prevent lawsuits but MOST importantly, you provide good resident care!
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