Healthcare and Wound Care Management

As a healthcare professional, it is no longer simply go after orders. All professionals who care for patients with wounds are now being detained to a standard of care, and may be held liable for providing wound care of substandard quality, regardless of whether they believe they are covered by a physician’s order. Consequently, wound care practitioners need to be aware of these standards in order to protect their patients and avoid legal issues and denial of reimbursement.

Legal issues involving wound care management are generally an issue of carelessness, or failure to meet the standard of care. Malpractice can be defined as failure to meet standards of care that results in hurt to another person. Health care professionals may be held legally responsible in the event it is determined that standards of care have not been met, and may be guilty of malpractice if a patient under their care is harmed.

What may be the standard of care in wound healing management? Standards of care can be defined as the care that any reasonably cautious health care provider would provide in the same or a similar situation. Standards for wound care practice have been resolute by several sources:

• Agency for Health care Research and Quality – the Agency for Health care Research and Quality (AHRQ) has specify guidelines for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers.

• Patient Care Partnership – the patient care partnership includes basic patient rights, one of which is safe and secure, quality care.

• State nurse practice acts and guidelines – these acts regulate the practice of nurses, and classify which treatments and actions may be performed by the nurse in each state.

• Employer policies and procedures -policies and dealings are used to establish standards of care, and may be invoked in litigation claims-such claims may reflect either lack of information or blatant disregard for a policy, and may show negligence.

• Job descriptions – health care employees who grant care outside their formal job description may be held liable.

• Standards of practice – various professions have individual standards of practice, put by the professional organizations.