Elderly and impaired persons have special care needs. Personal attention
to detail, including cleanliness, regularity of intervention, and persistent
observation are among the most important features.
Often, these responsibilities are discharged by persons who are supervised
by nurses, but may not be trained as nurses themselves. Aids and other
caregivers can perform outstanding service if they are devoted to what
the patient needs.
Injuries to impaired or aged patients take predictable forms. The most
common are falls, skin breakdown, called decubitus ulcers, and injuries
caused by abuse. Neglect is an all to common occurrence in facilities
where persons are partially or wholly dependent on other for care. Neglect
of elderly and disabled person occurs and Domina Law can help.
So what does the law require, and what remedies are available?
Each patient deserves to be assessed for fall risks. This assessment must
be performed objectively. Use of a scoring method or scale, such as the
Braden scale, may be used. Braden is one (1) tool for evaluating and documenting
the evaluation of a patient’s need for fall protection.
The patient’s chart should disclose consideration of objective, observable
factors about the patient’s condition, score each, total the scores,
and conclude with a recommendation about the need for restraints, a chair,
an attendant, or other assistance.
Falls can produce fatal injuries. A facility providing patient care must
protect against them.
Fall risks are well known. A predictable fraction of patients of all ages
faint when confronted with a needle before an injection. Instability after
anesthesia (partial or general) is well known, and some patients cannot
be left unattended in beds, on toilets, or in chairs.
Safety devices such as bed rails must be selected to match the bed and
the predictable age and size of the patient population expected to use
it. One (1) size does not fit all.
Domina Law Group pc llo has dealt with fall cases of many kinds. Our clients
have included patients, and next of kin, who have medical and legal histories
of unassessed fall risks, inadequate fall protection, failure of institutions
to develop protocol to protect patients, and failure of staff to assess
or react appropriately.