People who perform nurse aide, orderly or attendant duties fulfill a large part of the day-to-day care of patients in hospitals or extended care homes. These people are accountable for administering some medications, bathing patients, keeping rooms clean, feeding those who need assistance, basic patient care such as changing dressings and emptying bed pans, assisting patients with walking around and transporting them in wheelchairs or on stretchers, moving bed-ridden patients to avoid bedsores, providing information for patients and family, recording patient information, keeping medical supplies stocked and many other duties. As you can see it is quite a comprehensive and necessary position. It is also one that comes with a great deal of responsibility and subject to claims of malpractice.
It is important to remember that these aides, orderlies or attendants are not registered nurses; they are nurses’ helpers. While they perform many of the same duties that nurses do, they have not gone through the extensive training that nurses have. Some are certified, but each state has its own set of requirements, so the level of training is not the same across the board.
Nurse Aides perform a bit of a catch-all job and do a lot of physical labor. Long hours and hard work can wear on a worker and cause mix-ups or oversights to occur. Sometimes the simple act of forgetting to record a piece of patient information can have dismal consequences. It may seem like a benign paperwork mistake, but it may lead to a patient receiving an overdose of medication or the wrong type of food. For patients who are unable to communicate with the nurse’s aides this is an especially serious threat. There is a lot of room for error and mistakes definitely do happen.
Nurse’s aides are often caring for patients who cannot care for themselves and sometimes cannot even communicate with them. This leaves even more room for error and mistakes, as there is little chance that the patient will notice the mistake happening and express it to the worker. There are two types of errors and mistakes likely to occur when a nurse’s aide, orderly or attendant is taking care of a patient:
- When she forgets to perform a duty, and
- When she does something in error.
Both kinds of issues can cause serious harm. For instance, a bedridden patient may develop serious bedsores when an aide forgets to roll or move a bedriddent patient. Or, a nurse aide may mix up two different patients’ medications and cause harm to both.
There are many fantastic nurses’ aides out there who do a very thorough and accurate job. Accidents sometimes occur and injuries or worse can be the result of a nurse’s aide mistake or error.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed due to an error made by a nurse’s aide, it is a medical malpractice issue. You should have your case assessed by an experienced attorney. Our Dallas nursing malpractice attorneys are very knowledgeable in the area of nursing mistakes and medical malpractice and can offer you a free assessment of your options.