During and after CNA training, you will learn about the many legal issues you will face as a CNA. These issues will be discussed in the classroom, during in-services, and will be pointed out while you are on the job. Certain guidelines will be taught to you to ensure you are always within the boundaries of the law and don’t face prosecution for injuries are damages caused to your patients, your employer, or the facility you work at. These guidelines are essential, as you could lose your certification, as well as receive imprisonment and fines.
Today we are going to discuss some of these guidelines and help you understand how you can avoid any trouble after CNA training.
Legal Definitions You Should Know After CNA Training
- Negligence- Failure to give your patients reasonable care, often resulting in the injury of a patient. For instance, if you help a patient take a bath, but forget to check the water temperature because you are in a hurry and the patient is burned, this is negligence. Many times after CNA training, CNAs are negligent because they are in a rush to get the rest of their work done and aren’t thinking before they act.
- Theft- Theft is not defined as taking valuable or expensive items. It is defined as taking anything that is not yours, no matter what it is. If you see this happening and don’t report it immediately, you are also guilty of helping in the theft. This is called aiding and abetting.
- Defamation- Defamation is a common, yet very serious, legal issue you might come across after CNA training. It involves making statements about your patients, either in writing or verbally, in such a way that their character is hurt. After CNA training, this often occurs when you tell someone something about a patient that is not true or is hurtful.
- False Imprisonment- While many individuals who have completed CNA training believe false imprisonment indicates the use of restraints, this is not always the case. False imprisonment is a mindset. You don’t have to have restraints to control a patient’s actions or movements. You can do so with your words, body, and by refusing to let a patient move when he or she is allowed to. While sometimes doctor’s order patients to remain in their rooms or wheelchairs for health and safety reasons, you should never force a patient to do so unless it is ordered in their care plan.
- Physical Restraints- Physical restraints, which are manual or physical devices, equipment, or material that is attached to or near the body of a patient that the patient can not remove easily or restricts the patient’s movement, are only to be used under doctor’s orders.
Avoiding Legal Issues After CNA Training
Laws have been developed by the local, state, and federal governments to protect patients, and you must understand how to stay within these laws when you work after CNA training.
- Do not perform duties outside your scope of knowledge or the scope of skills defined within CNA training.
- Perform only tasks you have been taught. If you are asked to perform a skill you do not know, ask for help from your supervisor or speak to them about the skill and your lack of knowledge about it.
- Always perform skills as you were taught. While it may seem less time-consuming to take short cuts, this can be trouble after CNA training.
- Maintain your continued CNA training so you are always up-to-date on skills.
- Know the policies and procedures of your facility- then follow them.
- Always provide the care and respect your patients deserve. Don’t harm them in any way, no matter what.
Make sure you do everything possible to care for your patients correctly so you can avoid legal issues like false imprisonment, defamation, theft, and negligence after CNA training.