The Consequences Of Inaccurate Nursing Assessments

1989 words - 8 pages

Inaccurate nursing assessments and recording of client data can detrimentally affect a patient’s well-being. Nurses are ethically, legally and morally responsible for assessing their patients appropriately. Nurses are also expected to document this data accurately in order to ensure safe and effective care for patients. In this case study, a nurse fails to assess the patient’s weight and instead estimates it. In this situation, it is key to consider the health complications that may arise as a result of the nurse’s actions, and at the same time, it is also important to look at the ethical issues surrounding this negligence. If the patient’s weight is recorded incorrectly in the charts, this may have implications related to malnourishment, healing, skin integrity, infection, and have additional complications related to Parkinson’s disease. In addition, this situation highlights accountability, negligence, ethics and misconduct in the nursing profession. The falsification of information, regardless of intention, is an ethical concern that needs to be addressed with both nurses in this situation since it can lead to complications for the client. It is key to analyze the health implications and ethical considerations that arise as a result of the nurse’s actions.
The health implications related to inaccurate recording of the patient’s weight are significant. First, appropriately assessing the patient’s weight would reveal that the patient is at risk for nutritional imbalance or malnutrition. Instead, the RPN recorded the patient’s weight at 70 kg and his height at 170 cm, which would indicate to the health care team that Mr. Gurd has a BMI of 24.2, which is within the normal range. In actuality, Mr. Gurd’s weight is 42 kg, meaning that his BMI is actually 14.5, which would indicate that he is underweight. Failing to document the correct weight would give the health care team invalid information, and this could lead to additional errors or misjudgments when providing care. If the patient is unknowingly underweight, he may end up consuming too few calories or nutrients. This can lead to risk of malnutrition or nutritional imbalance, which can lead to impaired healing of his ulcers, risk for infection, dehydration and constipation. In addition, inaccurate weight assessments could mean that patients are at risk for receiving the wrong dosage of medications. In Mr. Gurd’s case, if he is prescribed any titrated medications, he at risk for an overdose since the health care team believes that he weighs significantly more than he actually does.
Malnutrition is a serious condition with many implications, especially in elderly patients. Adams, Bowie, Simmance, Murray & Crowe highlight that, “Malnutrition is a serious medical concern in the elderly and is directly related to increasing hospital length of stay, treatment costs, infection and complication rates and mortality” (2008, p 144). The potential for malnutrition can cause many complications for the...

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