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CNA Training & Classes | December 17, 2017

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Patients Rights

A policy was issued in the year 1937 called “US Patient’s Bill of Rights” that gave rise to the Resident’s Bill of Rights at the present. The publication of that policy provided the way for the improvement in the bill and adding special considerations also to residents that are living in a long-term environment. This bill ensured the law to require nursing homes to have a written policy regarding the rights of the residents and make sure that they are always available to any residents. If there are issues and concerns that need to be addressed,  the resident must be aware of such things. Knowing such matters can help the residents to be informed of their rights and also know the limitations of the nursing assistants.

Every facility has their own set of services therefore residents should be informed about this information in order for them to know what to expect. Along with the services made available by the facility are the fees and charges that are tagged to them. Some of these charges might not be included in the Medicare or Medicaid therefore residents and families should be informed about it since it also their right to know.

Every resident has the right to know about their medical condition, unless their doctor specifies that the resident’s medical status is not in his best interest. Of course, as nursing assistants, it is only in the scope to answer some questions that you know through observation. This includes alterations in vital signs and among other things. Medical terms must be explained by the doctors for they know the whole explanation of the resident’s condition. Be truthful in what you know about the patient but also be very careful in what needs to be said. Always keep in mind that before giving information to the resident’s condition as per his or her request, you should first report it to the supervisor.

The resident has the right to choose where, what or whom he or she wants to go to for his or her plan of care. It is his right to choose which physician or doctor he wants to consult and what pharmacy or facility he likes. As a health practitioner you can give opinions to residents as your own point of view. Still, your opinion is not important since it is always the decision of the resident that must be followed. It is your responsibility however to support them and refer them to the nurses or even the social workers for the assistance that they need.

It is not in our business to handle the client’s own financial transactions since they can do it themselves unless of course they will appoint a manager using the power of attorney. The power of attorney authorizes a person to act on their behalf if required. Therefore, the manager must always update the resident about his financial status and be transparent about transactions that has and will be done. Evidences of such transactions should be visible to the resident including receipts of transactions, records and others.

Do not handle personal things of the person especially if they are valuable unless there is a witness during inventories. When talking about the rights of the resident, it also includes rights such as the right to privacy and confidentiality, the right to dignity and the right to be respected. Such rights should be preserved even simple things such as closing doors when they should not be interrupted, knocking before opening the door, putting curtains when performing procedures that exposes hidden parts and many others. Visitation and private conversation of the couple should also be respected and be given the right privacy.

Some residents prefer to wear several of their own possessions such as watches, jewelries and even their favourite dresses. It is a choice and also their right to wear these things as long as these possessions do not harm or is not hazardous to them. Despite such right, it is also important to make sure that these things will not be used by residents to harm himself or others.

An example would be a person who might have suicidal ideation and attempts. Talking about preventing harm, it is vital that residents are away from harm. Therefore, they must be protected from mental and physical abuses. As much as possible, avoid using restraints to the person unless it is indicated specifically by doctors to use them. This is because restraints can also be a form of abuse and harm of the residents thus it is one of the forms of physical abuse.

Physical abuse can also be seen in threats, beating the resident, withholding the basic needs of the person, inappropriate touching and many others. Sexual harassment, molesting and other sexual abuses also are included in the physical abuse. It is a necessity to know these acts in order to report any signs of abuse so that right punishment should be applied.  Mental abuse on the other hand affects the emotion of the residents such as verbal assault and deprivation of the listed rights. 

Some residents may not be reporting such abuses because they may be afraid of the abuser that is why it is vital to be observant and watch for cues may it be verbal, body languages or changes in attitudes. Signs of abuse may include bruises, frequent crying, isolation to others, declining to participate in daily functions, fear of other people touching them and many others.

It is our duty to report these signs of abuse so that it will not complicate to a more serious matter. Morally and legally speaking, our resident is our liability and whatever happens to him inside the facility will hold us liable. When reporting these abuses, you should be factual and not include your own personal opinions about the matter. Avoid assuming anything beside the truth that you know. It is better to be safe and report any suspicion even if they may not be proven than not caring at all. The facility’s guidelines regarding the report of abuse should be followed always. Hotlines for reporting cases of abuse should always be available so that data about it can be reported directly.

A committee should be readily organized in order to investigate the complaints of abuse. An ombudsman committee is a group of people appointed by the governor of the state in order to investigate. The members of the committee should not be involved nor has any connection to the health facility being investigated. Confidentiality in the names that are involved in the abuse which are the complainant and the abuser whether they may be other residents, a nurse or a doctor should be applied.

Residents are the clients of health care facilities and it is through their observations that important improvements must be done by facilities including their plan of care. It is the right of the residents to say their observations and give recommendations freely about the facility’s care. Let residents voice their opinions and conflicts in the care without being threatened, criticised or shown revenge by staff members.

There might also be instances wherein residents will be transfered to another facility or maybe discharged for medical reasons. The resident might be discharged because of a medical condition for the benefit of them and the residents. Another reason would be unable to pay or his Medicaid cannot be used. If you have residents that will be discharged or tranferred then the resident or his spokesperson should be informed through writing within 30 days of disharge.

It is the right of the resident to refuse and receive visitors especially loved ones in any time of the visiting hours. They must also be informed of that time through a printed schedule for the public order for them to know when visiting hours is allowed. It is included in the rights of the residents to have their own privacy with their visitors especially if they would be talking about personal matters therefore allow them to have such time. Give them appropriate time for consultation in order for the residents to claim their own rights and benefits for the purpose of legalities and other structures of representation.