Recently, the medical industry has started shifting care for ventilator patients from traditional hospital intensive care units directly into nursing home facilities. This move is often a cost-effective result that saves insurance company the high expense of maintaining the patient in a hospital facility. Under the care of nursing home staff, ventilator patients can receive 24/7 around-the-clock care using freestanding ventilator units.
From a purely cost-effective perspective, moving the patient to a nursing home appears to make sense. However, the shift of care from hospitals to nursing homes has come at a high cost to patients’ lives. Many times, nursing homes have taken the approach of stopping adequate care to ventilator patients who no longer have the capacity to complain or express themselves about their condition. As a result, serious injuries can occur, or even the death of ventilator patient because of the improper action of the nursing care facility.
Often times, nursing home patients that rely on a ventilator are victims of negligence when they develop ventilator-associated pneumonia. Often the result of improper care, this preventable pneumonia can become fatal if not treated properly, or treated at all. Patients that have a compromised immune system are highly susceptible to severe injury, a high rate of infection, and increased potential of death.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia remains highly resistant to a variety of antibiotics, making it more difficult to fight off. As a result, prevention of developing the ventilator-associated infection appears to be the best protection. The development of this condition requires extensive sedation to minimize uncomfortable symptoms. As a result, many patients develop a significant drop in their body temperature, and the development of a fever.
Patients on ventilators require constant monitoring. The tubes of the machine can easily become clogged when not properly monitored, and fill up with mucus, preventing the opportunity to breathe. Lack of oxygen through clogged ventilator tubes can lead to extensive brain damage and an increased risk of death.
In addition, it is essential that the nursing home staff continuously monitor the ventilator tubes to ensure they do not become dislodged from the patient. Dislodged tubes can be the result of the patient removing them, or by an accident.
It is essential that the staff take immediate and appropriate corrective measures to minimize any problems with the patient’s breathing. Any lack of supervision and/or failure to properly reinsert the tube could lead to death. Other times, restraint or sedation may be required to minimize the behavior of the patient when they become combative when using the ventilator.
Patient Communication and Rights
Even though the patient is continuously breathing through the ventilator, there is still a potential of developing communication in some way. It is essential that the nursing home staff attempt to facilitate ongoing communication with any patient connected to a ventilator. Often times, the patient uses a pen and paper, blinks, or uses hand gestures as a way to make a communicative connection with others in the room.
Because of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, all patients in nursing facilities, including those on respirators have the legal right to be continuously treated with dignity and respect. Because of that, it is essential that the nursing home staff provide adequate care in accordance with the state of Illinois and federal statutes. This includes being continuously monitored to ensure that all of the patient’s needs are being met.
Continuous care might involve sedation and pain medication, especially if the patient is displaying extreme pain. Restraint should never be used unless the patient is displaying signs of self-inflicted harm, and only then for the duration of the event. In addition, it is the duty of the nursing home staff to continuously protect the patient from choking.Nursing Home Attorneys Providing Answers For Patients On Vents
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC concentrate in nursing home neglect and abuse in Illinois, with patients on ventilators. Every patient, including those on ventilators, is entitled to the protection of their rights while being cared for in a nursing home. To understand every legal option, it is essential to speak directly to skilled nursing home attorneys that can carefully evaluate every detail of the claim and ensure that no rights were not violated that resulted in the death of ventilator patient. Call the law firm at (888) 424-5757 for a no-obligation, free consultation.