Articles Clinical Blog

Don’t forget to document…

‘How can I cook my dinner?!’ 

‘How can I charge my phone?!’ 

‘How can I watch tv?!’

The above are all things we have said when there is a power cut. For a moment let’s think about what happens when a power cut happens in a nursing home. I can assure you these phrases will not cross a carers mind when the power goes out!

One of their initial thoughts is to ensure the residents are not laying on deflated air mattresses and obtaining pressure damage with every minute that passes.

A nursing home is unlikely to have a backup generator, so when the power is out, it’s out. This could go on for hours and the damage that can be caused to a resident in that time can be irreversible and lead to death.

Power cuts are unavoidable, but pressure prevention isn’t! When a power cut occurs, make sure you are doing everything possible to ensure your residents are not laying on their bed frames. If they are, try and get them off the bed frame surface and onto something to avoid any pressure damage. 

Residents may have developed progressive pressure damage because their usual levels of care have been compromised by a power cut. It is very important to document… yes, document this happening. It might come and go, cause a lot of disruption and trouble and you don’t remember to document the power failure in a care plan.

In one incident, a short time passed by after the power cut and a resident quickly developed two black necrotic pressure ulcers on the sacrum which lead to death. Is this down to neglect? Or is it down to the fact there was a power cut and you did everything to prevent a pressure ulcer from forming…but failed to document? 

If the power cut wasn’t documented did it even happen?