Wound Care & Potential Liabilities
The need for care of chronic wounds, whether pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers or other non-healing wounds, is becoming more prevalent as the population ages. As with any aspect of patient care, wound care has specific liabilities for health care professionals associated with it.
Best practices for care
One vital aspect of wound care is to follow a standard of treatment based on national and international guidelines. This includes selecting the proper dressings, adhering to a recommended schedule for dressing maintenance and changes, and taking into account the patient’s situation and preferences to optimize healing potential.
Documentation and recordkeeping
Frequent, thorough, accurate and consistent wound assessment documentation is incredibly important to ensure proper ongoing care for patients and it is also essential in the event of a malpractice lawsuit.
This documentation should be standardized and structured in such a way that each caregiver can easily check off wound attributes and track changes to wound conditions. Ideally, all documentation should be kept so that it is easily accessible to each member of a patient’s medical team.
Proper documentation includes the date and time of each notation, specific and accurate information about the patient’s condition and treatment, and objective and factual observations written down at the time they are noted, not later on.
Professional Liability Insurance coverage
No matter how carefully you adhere to wound care and documentation protocols, there is always a chance that you might find yourself named in a lawsuit. Having a Professional Liability Insurance policy will protect you and cover the cost of legal fees in your defense and judgments or settlements.