A fellow CNA at my facility hurt her back on a resident three weeks ago. During a two person transfer with a gate belt the resident dropped her feet and forced this CNA to drop down and immediately pull hard back up to keep the resident off the floor. Then the two CNA's lifted her onto the bed. It resulted in major lower back problems for this CNA that required her to be off work, see Dr's, have a MRI, physical therapy, partial epideral etc.. etc..
During the week she was out, our boss called her Dr three seperate times to see when she could come back to work and finally see if he would atleast release her to light duties. The Dr told my co-worker he felt hassled to get her back on the front lines and did release her.
Still hurting she has decided to seek a second opinion and told this to our boss.
Now our boss has been going around asking all of us other CNA'S what we know about the incident, who was with her, which resident it was... Asking us one at a time at random, some of us repeatedly the same questions rephrased. And now the other CNA that was there when it happened had to write a statement....3 weeks after the incident!
This is upseting the hurt CNA, making her insecure about her position, fearing the behind her back questioning clearly means they don't believe her injuries to be true etc...
It makes the rest of us fear for what would happen if we are in her position. Is it really okay for your employer to call your doctor and hassle for a release? And this behind your back trying to catch a variation from the story three weeks after the fact doesn't seem right either. The CNA said she feels harrassed in a way.
Unfortunately this all lends to our general feeling that we as individuals do not matter. We are there to do the dirty work and if we get hurt and are unable we have to suck it up and do it anyway or fear for our job.
Even with all our safety precautions accidents happen when you are lifting people. These two CNA's kept the resident off the floor and put safely into bed at the expense of one of their backs and yet she is treated like this!
It just doesn't seem right. Any ideas on how to protect ourself?
Jun 19, '02
This happens all the time in LTC, it looks bad when staff gets hurt.
If you happen to do light duty where I work, it is just a form of punishment, you have to work a different shift, 10 to 6pm. And if you have children, tough. What do the powers to be think will happen if you have to move 10-12 pts. aleast 8-10 times a shift and plus help co-workers with their lifts, whatever do they think will happen to your body!? Backs and shoulders go fast in LTC.
Jun 19, '02
Tell her to see a lawyer ASAP that deals with Workers Comp. claims. They'll lie to her, threaten her and make her feel like she's not being honest. She's the one in pain and must watch out for herself. How do I know....I've been there and suffered needlessly for years while the big shots delayed the surgery that finally set me free. SHE NEEDS A LAWYER!!!!!
Jun 21, '02
Definately she needs a lawyer. If you are truely injured on the job and have witnesses to the fact, there should be no questions asked. Some facilities are great about injuries others are just trying to cover their butts to get out of a lawsuit if they think one is pending. If she got hurt on the job, then she should be compensated for her injuries, but she shouldn't be felt like she commited a crime, and nor should her coworkers should it happen to them. If she isn't compensated, then she needs the lawyer. AND her Dr. should not release her to light duties just because he was hassled about it, he should release her when he feels she's ready to be released. Should she injure her back more even on light duty, then she could nail him too and the facility for hasseling him to do so. Tell her we said to get the Lawyer b/c it sounds like she's going to need him in the long run.
Jun 23, '02
Where I work we are taught to control the fall, NEVER try to stop some one from falling, less severe injuries result from a controlled fall to both staff and resident.
The faility SHOULD be providing mechanical hoists( lifters), I have not lifted a resident in years and don't my back love me.
The best way to get them to provide lifters is to threaten to sue them for negligence, not providing safty in the workplace.
Also explain that they will reduce the number of staff injuries and thus sickies.
Get a great lawyer
Jun 23, '02
Thanks for all the input. This issue is a real concern to us CNA's.
We do have Hoyer lifts to use, but this lady is alert and orriented and does not want the Hoyer. She wants to get stronger in using her legs. In the begining of the transfer she was helping. She just suddenly couldn't help and lifted her legs. She wasn't falling. And if the CNA's had let her lower to the floor, they both would have gotten into "trouble". This lady is private pay and has all her faculties. Whatever she wants our Boss gets. She is currently on her third bed, her 2nd recliner, her 2nd room....You get the picture.
Jun 23, '02
I'm sp sorry your friend is dealing with this. The fact that this woman is A&O and moneyed does not give her license to harm your co-workers. If she is an appropriate physical therapy candidate, then that is where she need to be getting her strengthening exercises (that can later be assisted by the CNA's.) I've told more than one insistent patient that it's irrelevant how other people lift and transfer - I will do it the proper way and will not be injuring my back for anyone.
Now, as far as your boss goes - I wonder aloud to myself if he has any right to call her doctor and, more specifically, *whether the doc has any right to release information about her condition.* As long as she is still too injured to work, then that is all the boss needs to know. A written excuse to that effect detailing her specific restrictions and an admonishment that patient confidentiality exists for her, too, should be enough. Or is this a worker's comp doc?
Either way, I would get that second opinion. Don't let her risk aggravating her initial injury by returning to work before she is well.
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