Nursing Home Litigation for Neglect and Abuse: What Lawyers Need to Know About Nursing Home Records

Our current population is aging and the nursing home resident population is going to skyrocket. Today there are 40 million people over age 65 and this number will grow exponentially because of the baby boom between 1945 and 1955.  Therefore, the number of victims of neglect and abuse, which already exceeds 300,000 per year will grow accordingly.

The Nature of Nursing Homes

The customers have resident status.but require medical, rehabilitation and nursing services for:

  • chronic illness
  • permanent disability
  • cognitive deficit

Government records show that there are ten common mishaps occurring due to negligence to 25% of all nursing home residents across America:

  • Falls
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Wandering
  • Skin breakdown
  • Infection
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Over-filling of stomach and aspiration
  • Blood clots in the leg.

The common injuries from those mishaps are:

  • Head trauma with brain hemorrhage
  • Fractures of the hips, spine, limbs and ribs
  • Large multiple pressure ulcers with exposure of muscle and bone; with infection and gangrene
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Pulmonary emboli
  • Death

Eight-Hour Seminar/webinar Workshop

Our Nursing Home Litigation Workshop will help you to

  • Screen cases effectively
  • Present evidence for early settlement
  • Evaluate the quality of care
  • Interpret government statistics
  • Ask the right questions at deposition and trial

Seizure Precautions: The Standards of Nursing Practice

Of course in an in-patient setting this is not always the case and not always possible, so the failure to prevent injury and/or choking is not always the result of negligence.

Therefore, we shall explore the standards of care regarding seizure precautions, which require a risk assessment, care plan and nursing intervention. First of all, the assessment of risk that the patient will have a seizure during the hospitalization requires a history and observation of certain risk factors:

Following are the factors

1. New diagnosis of seizure disorder;

2. Frequent seizure activity;

3. Any seizure activity during the past year;

4. History of head trauma including surgery within the past three years;

5. Treatment with medications that lower the seizure threshold (antidepressants and anti-psychotics);

6. Withdrawal of anti-epileptic medication for evaluation of a seizure disorder and re-adjustment of medication regimen;

7. Any seizure activity within the past 12 months.Second, there must be a care plan to set up the environment to prevent injury, maintain continuous observation to know when a seizure is starting and be able to get to the patient within a few seconds of onset.

Thus, when seizure precautions are warranted by any of the above risk factors the care plan must include the following:

1. Make certain that the patient has the following equipment: a. Nasal cannula and tubing; b. Oxygen flow meter; c. Suction gauge; d. Suction canister; e. Suction tubing to connect to canister;

2. Assign patient to room in close proximity to the nurses station;

3. Maintain continuous observation via video monitor;

4. Maintain assembled suction equipment in room;5. Maintain assembled oxygen equipment at bedside;

6. Pad side rails of bed;

7. Keep bed in low position with all side rails up at all times;

8. Keep unnecessary equipment out of patients room;

9. Instruct patient not to get out of bed without assistance;

10. Assure that call bell is always within patients reach. Make sure that the family knows where it is and how to use it;

11. Avoid use of restraints;

12. Obtain one-to-one sitter if patient is unable to follow instructions to maintain safety;

13. Check vital signs every fifteen minutes and maintain airway patency during the post ichtal phase (period of time immediately following the seizure, during which the patient remains comatose or stuperous).

Finally, it is imperative that the nurses focus on observation and response.…