Legal Issues

Heidi Cross's picture
Skin Changes at Life's End

by Heidi H. Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

"If a patient is cold, if a patient is feverish, if a patient is faint, if he is sick after taking food, if he has a bed sore, it is generally the fault not of the disease, but of the nursing." —Florence Nightingale

Ouch! What an indictment of nursing and, by extension, the facility in which the nurse works. We have a lot to thank Florence Nightingale for—a brilliant woman considered to be the founder of nursing and nursing standards and the first to ever put statistics to health care, among other valuable contributions.

Heidi Cross's picture
Risk Assessment

by Heidi H. Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

When looking at medical charts from a legal perspective, one of the areas closely scrutinized is the risk assessment for skin breakdown and pressure ulcer development. Completing a risk assessment is considered a standard of care. Was the patient adequately assessed, and was this done in a timely fashion? Was it repeated at regular intervals, with a change in condition, or on readmission? Do scores seem appropriate for the patient's condition? Is there consistency among health practitioners? Were the results used to institute evidence-based and appropriate prevention and treatment measures and care plans? Or do the results seem to simply languish in the chart? What are the standards of care related to this?

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Heidi Cross's picture
Turning and Positioning

by Heidi H. Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

Failure to T&P (turn and position) is always part and parcel of a pressure ulcer lawsuit and a key element of a complaint related to pressure ulcers, as illustrated in the opening quotation. T&P documentation is a dominant focus in chart analysis and is usually one of the first things that an attorney and the expert witness look for. If T&P documentation is satisfactory, the defendant is likely to prevail; if not, then the plaintiff may have a pretty rock-solid case. But as I have opined in previous blogs, is there such a thing as perfect documentation? Alas...NO! (Or at least, rarely.)

Cheryl Carver's picture
Terminology

By Cheryl Carver, LPN, WCC, CWCA, FACCWS, DAPWCA, CLTC

It is 2018, and health care professionals around the world are still debating what to call skin damage. I totally immersed myself in wound care because of losing my 47-year-old mother to what was then called "decubitus ulcers." I was young when my mother died, and I wanted to know why and how this could happen. My perspective is different from that of most clinicians because of my personal experience.

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Heidi Cross's picture
Legal Issues

by Heidi H. Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

Part 2 in a multi-part series looking at the basics of avoiding litigation as a health care provider. Read Part 1 Here.

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Heidi Cross's picture
Legal Issues

by Heidi H. Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

Part 1 in a multi-part series looking at the basics of avoiding litigation as a health care provider.

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