Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Valpo, Indiana

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The 3 Documents All Nursing Home Residents Must Know In Valparaiso, Indiana

If you are going to place a loved one in an Indiana nursing home, you have to be a strong advocate, and having knowledge about the system, will give you the upper hand in protecting your loved one.

There are three important documents for all nursing home residents that you should learn about:

MDS – Minimum Data Set

The first document is the minimum data set or MDS: The MDS is a comprehensive assessment of the resident’s functional capabilities and helps the nursing home staff identify health problems.

The MDS triggers other specific assessments based on its findings. For instance, if the MDS shows that that the resident is a potential fall risk – it will trigger a fall risk assessment.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid say this about the MDS:

This process provides a comprehensive assessment of each resident’s functional capabilities and helps nursing home staff identify health problems. Care Area Assessments (CAAs) are part of this process, and provide the foundation upon which a resident’s individual care plan is formulated. MDS assessments are completed for all residents in certified nursing homes, regardless of source of payment for the individual resident. MDS assessments are required for residents on admission to the nursing facility, periodically, and on discharge. All assessments are completed within specific guidelines and time frames. In most cases, participants in the assessment process are licensed health care professionals employed by the nursing home. MDS information is transmitted electronically by nursing homes to the national MDS database at CMS.

RAP – Resident Assessment Protocol (PLAN)

The RAP is the foundation for the resident’s individual care plan. The RAPs are problem-oriented frameworks for additional assessment based on problem identification items (triggered conditions). They form a critical link to decisions about care planning to foster good care and prevent injury.

ICP- Individualized (individual) Care Plan

The third document is the individual or specific care plan. This care plan sets out interventions to minimize a resident’s potential injuries. For instance, if the resident is high risk to develop pressure sores,the care plan may call for a special mattress, extra hydration, frequent inspections, and a turning and repositioning schedule to minimize the breakdown of tissue.

So all in all, the MDS, RAP and ICP work together in assessing, protecting and providing the essential needs and treatment for the safety and protection of all nursing home residents.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1,800 people die each year due to nursing home fall. Additionally, it is said that 75% of all nursing home residents will suffer a fall in any given year. This statistics appears to be twice the rate of seniors who live at home.

Just because your loved one or family member suffered a fall at a nursing home doesn’t mean the staff was negligent. However, if the facts of your loved one’s fall seem weird or your loved one falls multiple times, your antenna should go up.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to determine your loved one’s fall risk ,and then it must put in place reasonable precautions to limit the chance of a fall and/or limit the potential injury.

The First Step in Reducing Nursing Home Falls

The first step in reducing falls in Valpo Indiana nursing homes requires proper assessment of the resident to determine if he/she is a fall risk. A nurse will go through a checklist called a “fall risk” assessment, which is used to assess the resident.

A few of the fall risk indicators are prior falls, certain medications, dementia, lack of mobility, cardiovascular issues, and dizziness. Once a resident is found to have a moderate or high risk of falls, we move to the second step, and individual care plan with fall risk precautions.

Step Two Fall Risk Precautions

Safety precautions that can help reduce the risk of falls include chair and bed alarms and motion detectors, which alert the staff that your loved one is trying to get up without assistance. Additionally, there are grab bars and bed rails that also help keep nursing home residents safe.

These precautions will help keep your loved one safe when she is trying to get of a bed or chair without waiting for a nurse or aide to assist.

Step Three a Multidisciplinary Approach to Care

The CDC says a multidisciplinary approach can help prevent nursing home falls. The multidisciplinary approach includes proper medical treatment, nutrition, occupational and physical therapy, and environmental assistance such as adding raised toilet seats, lowering bed heights and installing handrails in hallways.

Step Four Bedrails or No Bedrails?

In the literature there is certainly controversy about the use of bedrails for nursing home residents there is some misinformation. A bedrail is considered a physical constraint and they can be installed and/or used with a physician’s order. The general consensus is that the risk of death from strangulation by a bedrail is lower than the risk of death due to a fall in a nursing home.

CDC literature suggests that injuries from bedrails seem to be related to improper design and assembly of a bedrails.

Why Do Nursing Home Residents Fall?

According to the CDC, nursing home residents fall because of muscle weakness, problems walking, environmental hazards, improperly sized or maintained wheelchairs and incorrect bed height. A look at this list shows that a wide variety of interventions can reduce the risk of falling. Family, nursing home staff and the resident’s doctor are all instrumental in preventing these injuries.

Give our Law office a call today and we can help you navigate your Valparaiso, IN Nursing Home Abuse Claim. 

Guy DiMartino Law Indiana 

Michigan City, IN Office

📍 1000 Washington Street Michigan City, IN 46360

✆ (219) 600-4793


Valparaiso, IN Office

📍 332 W 806 N Valparaiso, IN 46385
✆ (219) 600-4793