Caring for the Elderly and Impaired

Caring for the Elderly and Impaired

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.