WHEN IGNORING PATIENT CARE PLANS LEADS TO INJURY AND DEATH
A care plan is a tool that long-term care providers use to coordinate and manage patients’ health care goals, needs and services. When, unfortunately, nursing homes disregard or fail to monitor resident care plans, that is a form of nursing home neglect, which can even lead to nursing home abuse.
What kinds of information about a patient does a care plan include?
- physical conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, or neuropathy
- psychological conditions (Alzheimer’s, dementia, bipolar disorder)
- medications being taken
- need for mobility assistance
- need for help with activities of daily living (bathing, toileting, eating, transferring)
- tendency to wander off
How often should care plans be reviewed?
“Once an initial care plan has been established, all aspects of it should be reviewed periodically – especially after certain health events,” AgingCare.com cautions. Patients with progressive conditions such as COPD need more frequent assessment. Medicare requires full health assessments and care plan updates at least once every 90 days. The goal, AgingCare explains, is to provide the highest quality care while protecting nursing home residents from nursing home abuse and neglect.
What should be, often isn’t…
Truth is, the vast majority of older people in residential care have either severe or profound disability, agedcarecrisis.com points out. Statistics generated by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that one in every five visits to a U.S. hospital by a patient of a nursing home is the result of abuse. Worse the DHS noted, nursing homes frequently fail to report abuse and neglect incidents.
As adult children of nursing home patients often tell us at Ramey & Hailey, they had trusted the nursing home staff to take care of their loved ones and to preserve the very best possible quality of life for them. The process of maintaining and updating patient care plans would have been a crucial first step in avoiding tragic results, but that is too often not happening.