Physical Changes And Aging
Nursing Home Elderly Care
Responding to sudden physical changes in a nursing home resident's condition is important. Nursing home residents should be continuously monitored by the nursing home staff for any sudden physical changes. Sudden physical changes should be brought to the attention of a nursing home doctor immediately.
Monitoring Physical Changes in the Nursing Home Resident
Because people can't always be by the bedsides of their loved ones at all times, they are dependent on nursing home doctors, nurses and staff people to let them know when a resident's health has taken a turn. A change in condition can range from the development of a fever, to a fall, to a systemic failure. Communication between staff, the resident's physician and the resident's family is vital.
What should nursing home staff do to monitor physical changes in the residents?
The nursing home staff should establish a line of communication for sharing information about a nursing home resident's condition, starting with the nurse or staff person who identifies a change. The resident's attending physician should be notified first, followed by the resident's legal representative or other designated family member or friend.
What should nursing home staff do when a sudden physical change is observed?
In an unexpected situation or emergency where a nursing home resident shows sudden physical change, the staff should treat the resident immediately and follow regular physician orders and/or nursing home facility procedures, provide nursing interventions and/or administer lifesaving care.
Create a baseline profile of the resident's condition against which future assessments can be measured. Monitor the resident's condition as often as is necessary in relation to the seriousness of the problem - at least once a shift, and more often if abnormalities persist. Report the results of the initial assessment and future abnormal assessments to the physician and responsible party. Document the results in the medical record.
Notify the attending physician of any abnormal reports from the laboratory, consultant or other third-party service. Likewise, any change in treatment recommended by a consultant must be communicated to the physician. The notification and the physician's response should be documented in the resident's medical record.
Document all observations. Aside from the abnormal observations, physician and family notifications and consultant recommendations, medical records should, at a minimum, include: (a) a record of the nursing measures taken, (b) changes in the physician's orders, and (c) the resident's responses, both positive and negative. "No chest pain" or "no shortness of breath" are examples of negative-response documentation.
Consider transporting the resident to the hospital if the resident's condition continues to deteriorate. Contact the physician and representative immediately.
What can the family do to assure a nursing home resident's physical condition is monitored?
Designate someone to serve as the nursing home's contact. Arrange for an alternate should the primary representative be unavailable. The representative or the alternate should be prepared to contact other family members and friends who may be interested in the resident's condition.
Demand accountability from the nursing home facility.
Commitment to the Health of Elderly Nursing Home Residents
Nursing home lawyer Jeffrey H. Rasansky is committed to improving the health and well being of nursing home residents. While sudden physical changes can, and probably will, occur in most elderly nursing home residents, the nursing home is responsible for monitoring and reacting appropriately to these sudden changes. If you feel your loved one has suffered neglect, negligence or abandonment by the nursing home staff, contact an experienced nursing home lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeff Rasansky. We can help.
Jeff Rasansky is licensed to practice before all state courts in Texas, the United States District Courts in the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas and the Fifth United States Circuit Court of Appeals.