For many Illinois medical patients, it is a benefit to be able to stay home and receive care and treatment. Perhaps a hospital released you or your loved one with the recommendation to receive at-home health care. The comfort and familiar surroundings of your home might make treatments less stressful than a hospital environment. Sadly, however, just as in hospitals, nursing negligence can be problematic in a home atmosphere, as well.
It is imperative that at-home care providers be properly trained. They must know how to assess a home environment to check for hazards. Some of the primary factors that cause patient injuries in the home are slips and falls, medication errors, environmental contaminants and mobility errors.
An at-home nurse knows how to avoid medication and movement errors
A professional caregiver is specially trained to learn how to safely move patients from one location to another, such as from a bed to a wheelchair or from a chair to the bathroom. Ergonomics are a key factor to safety. One should always use the proper equipment, understand weight distribution and provide support while safely transferring a patient to a chair, bed, couch, outside bench, or wherever.
Certified caregivers and licensed nurses know how to avoid medication mistakes. They check that they have the correct patient, correct medication, correct dosage, time and route before administering a drug. If a nurse disregards safety precautions, a life-threatening error may occur.
Downsides of at-home nursing care
If you or your family member are receiving at-home care from an Illinois caregiving service, special equipment might be necessary, such as bringing in a bed with rails or an IV hookup or wheelchair. Medical equipment is often large and cumbersome and can “crowd” a room, which, in turn, can make it difficult to safely navigate the area.
If equipment is faulty or a caregiver is careless, serious injuries may occur, such as a patient having his or her limb or head trapped in a bed rail. Food hazards, fire hazards and other issues must receive regular monitoring and assessment to ensure that the care environment is safe for the patient.
What to do if you or a loved one suffers injury
Medical mistakes can cause severe illness or injuries to at-home patients. If this has happened in your family, you can report the issue and take further action if needed, such as requesting a formal investigation. In the past, many patients who have survived medical injuries have gone on to seek restitution by filing malpractice claims in civil court.