Don’t Get Scorched!

Mr. Jones, a 50-year-old paraplegic resident of your SNF, was burned by coffee. The CNA found a large wound on Mr. Jones’ thigh while changing him and immediately alerted the RN. Mr. Jones stated that he spilled coffee on himself earlier in the day and didn’t realize it had burned him. After assessing and stabilizing Mr. Jones, the RN notified the provider, and he was transferred to a burn center emergency room for treatment. Mr. Jones required multiple surgeries and spent over a month in the hospital. A few months later, Mr. Jones and his family filed a lawsuit against the SNF, citing negligence. 

One of administrators’ biggest fears is resident injury resulting from neglect. How can you prevent a similar incident from occurring in your facility? 

Review your facility’s food and beverage temperature and reheating policy. How do you ensure all food and liquids are served at a safe temperature? Do you assess and care plan for residents with health conditions that increase their risk of spilling liquids? How do you measure the temperature of liquids? Do you serve hot liquids in containers with lids? Evaluate your education and training. Have all your staff members that handle food and beverages been properly trained upon hire? Are annual competencies completed? Is all education documented accordingly?

Prevent your facility from getting scorched! Prevention is the key to decreasing claims of negligence. Take steps now to protect your residents and identify and master your risks.