I work for a home care agency that also supplies aides to private patients in an assisted living facility to allow the patient to delay nursing home care. How is medical liability regulated in this situation? The facility has its own aides, but I am a privately hired aide. Where do my responsibilities to care for the patient cause conflict with the facilitys aides?
Dear Nancy replies:
Dear Mary Ann,
The residents in the assisted living facility in which you work are lucky to have two nursing aides who help them maintain their independence and their health. This is a laudable approach and you both should be pleased to be involved in such an arrangement. However, it does require the two of you work as a team so the resident is not caught in the middle of a conflict or of inconsistent care goals. Remember, both of you have obligations and duties to the resident.
It would probably be best for the CNO of the agency you work for to meet with the facility CNO in order to identify goals of the residents each agency aide would be working with so both aides are able to provide the care needed. Each residents plan of care could be referred to on a regular basis, and if changes are needed, the aides should identify those as a team and then change the plan of care. Also, a policy should be in place so when there is a conflict between the aides, the procedure to follow to rectify the problem is clearly addressed.
Insofar as liability goes, should there be an injury to a resident due to the care, or lack of care either of you may be responsible for, you and your co-aide will have to answer to the allegations against you should a lawsuit be filed. This type of situation is not the best to be involved in because each one of you may try to blame the other for her conduct that allegedly caused the injury. The plaintiff’s (resident’s) attorney loves this type of in-fighting between two or more defendants. Therefore, preventing it from occurring by proactively planning the resident’s care, abiding by the plan and quickly resolving any conflicts that arise, is the best approach.