Documentation is critical in wound care lawsuits: expert

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D. Timothy McVey
D. Timothy McVey
Provider documentation is the key to avoiding costly wound care mishaps in a nursing facility, an expert attorney explained at a McKnight's Online Expo session.

Wound care cases can easily cost a facility $250,000, said D. Timothy McVey of McVey & Parsky LLC. They can go on for years, and multiple wound care cases can make it hard to get insurance, he said at the March webcast.

In addition to assessing whether a resident is coming into a facility with a wound, there needs to be regular documentation that not only includes resident compliance but also details on the type of wound, including whether it's diabetic, vascular or pressure. Proper measurements must be taken, and experts need to be advising direct care staff on treatment, he said.

“Wound cases can be won. Good intake documentation, in many cases, is the key,” McVey said. “The use of technology is another way of defending wound cases.”

Whether it's an electronic or paper-based system, or photos of the wound, employees must be trained to provide accurate documentation, he said. “Just putting [a system] into place doesn't make it work.”  

To stay out of court, it's best to have an aggressive approach to helping residents get better.  “Put a SWAT team on [the wound],” he said. “Once it heals, they don't have much of a case.”