If you are thinking about CNA training, you should also take time to consider the various legal issues you could possibly face over the course of your career. A CNA has numerous responsibilities and must possess the ability to multitask well. CNAs who are not careful to pay close attention to their patients and their belongings could face charges of: theft, assault and battery, negligence, abuse, false imprisonment, defamation, and invasion of privacy, just to name a few.
Here’s a list of some potential legal issues that could be faced by a CNA who doesn’t take his or her nursing career seriously.
If you take any personal patient property, no matter the size or value, you could be charged with theft. Even if patients offer it to you, do not take it. Some patients may not be aware of their offer later, and it could look bad.
Assault and Battery
Assault is the intention or threat of hurting the patient, and battery is the act of doing so. Treat the patient with care and kindness, and you won’t have to worry about this in your CNA training or otherwise.
Giving the wrong medication, the wrong food, or even food at the wrong consistency could be seen as negligence. You must be careful to pay attention to patient needs individually. Perform all your duties related to the patient as instructed. Missing or incorrectly doing one part of the care could be construed as negligence.
This is a broad term used to describe any harm, be it physical, verbal, mental/emotional, or sexual. Do not kick, slap, or physically hurt the patient. Don’t swear or curse while caring for the patient at any time. Do not do anything that will make the patient fear you. Do not address the patient sexually or do anything that could constitute sexual abuse over the course of their care.
Any orders to move a patient to seclusion for the safety or well being of other patients should come from a superior. Do not make the decision on your own, or it could be constituted as abuse.
This shocks most people, primarily because they don’t have a clear idea of what it actually means. It doesn’t mean you wrongfully send your patient to prison. If you restrain your patient without obtaining the appropriate permissions first, this is technically considered false imprisonment.
Defamation is the act of saying or writing something about a patient that damages their character and is not true. Do not say or write anything down about anyone that you do not know for sure to be fact.
Invasion of Privacy
Discussing patient medical history with anyone other than the doctor, immediate family, or the patient himself, could be considered an invasion of privacy. If you are not sure if someone should have access to the information, do not divulge any information without getting the appropriate permissions from the patient or his/her representative.
CNA Training, Ethics, & Legal Issues
During your CNA training, you will learn more about ethics, legal issues and what you can do to combat them. As long as you do your job to care for the patients you shouldn’t have to worry about legal troubles. If there is any question about what to do in any particular situation, speak to superiors to ensure you’re making the right move. Without instructions from doctors or other medical professionals, the uninformed CNA may cause legal issues to arise.