Thursday, July 7, 2011

Long-term care litigation

Dad needed a mechanical lift
Falls occur for many reasons. Many seniors refuse to use walkers, or other aides. (Adult children complain about this a lot.) My father, with dementia, was desperate to get out of his bed, wheelchair, and staff put pads around his bed, which they lowered to the floor. He was unable to walk, yet kept trying to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. Sometimes they are self-inflicted wounds due to stubbornness, ignorance, or psychosocial issues.

This PSW litigation (below) is poignant, since many people are 'two-person' lifts. It must be a lesson learned. PSWs must be aware of policies, protocols, individual treatment plans, Scope of Practice. It takes time and energy to read a client's file, which is why continuity in caregiving in a setting is important.

I fought hard with staff to treat dad using palliative protocols.
My husband injured his back after lifting my dad. Dad would beg us to get him in and out of bed.

Mission Creep is bad news.

Caregivers must be vigilant NOT to do things that would be dangerous. I cannot tell you how many PSWs and volunteers report back issues. I know of a volunteer, working with a friend, who was asked to take her down to the toilet. She hadn't been out of bed for days.
While I was volunteering a PSW new to the case was asked to do the same for the client. She, too, hadn't been mobile for days and was at great risk for a fall.

Caregiver not only need information, but must be aware of each case, the treatment plan, status of mobility, and risks cannot be taken on the part of the caregiver or care recipient.

Check out this comment on a previous post:
"I too am a caregiver, working alone in the Client's home. While I am not concerned for my life, I am concerned about injury due to inappropriate tasks being assigned.
In another position I had a few years ago I worked with a man who had a history of sexual inappropriatness.
Both of these positions were funded by the local office of the B.C. Ministry of Health under a programme in which the client administers the funds themselves.
My question relates to ultimate responsibility. In cases where a caregiver is injured, or killed, what responsibility is carried by the agency that oversees and funds the care?"

Nursing home worker charged in senior's death in Pickering

The Canadian Press
Date: Friday May. 27, 2011 7:28 AM ET
PICKERING, Ont. — An employee of a Pickering, Ont., nursing home has been charged after an elderly resident died from injuries suffered in a fall.
The worker allegedly moved a 91-year-old female resident by herself on March 20, in violation of the resident's personal care plan and the home's policy.
The resident hurt her leg during the move, no fall reported, taken to hospital with a fractured femur on March 23 and died on April 4 due to complications.
Diane Peck of Pickering is charged with criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessities of life.

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