fire retardent lap aprons for w/c pt's?

  1. We have a few residents who smoke and are very careless about where their ashes end up...mostly on their laps. OMG the burn holes in their pants! one resident aquired a nasty burn on the top of his thigh. It's almost impossible to keep track of these veterans throughout the day and observe them smoking. If they don't have cigarettes, other residents give them some then they return to the unit with all of these burn holes in their clothes. One of these days someone is going to really get burned badly.

    Then I thought to myself maybe if they could wear some kind of fire retardent lap apron or something of the sort. Ahhh, an invention where I could make some money. WRONG! here they already have something like that on the market. My question, has anyone ever used this sort of thing and if so, how good are they in preventing the resident from burning himself? Any feedback would be appreciated...I thank you, and the veterans thank you.

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    About night owl

    Joined: Mar '01; Posts: 3,254; Likes: 53


  3. by   kids
    I'll tell you a long sad story...

    I worked at a SNF about 10 years ago that had this old CVA with dementia patient. He was a smoker and he had 'the right'. He kept dropping lit cigarettes in his lap and burning his clother and got a few superficial burns on his legs. At time these aprons did not exist. We begged his family to let us take his cigarettes and lighters away so that we could supervise him while he smoked. They refused...he had the "right" to smoke at will...
    He scared me to death and I watched him like a hawk, I was Charge and instructed other Nurses and CNAs to keep an eye on him also.

    I left the facility about 9 years ago. Since then I have never worked in a facility that allowed unsupervised smoking or smoking by 'at risk' patients without the apron.

    6 years ago at the first SNF this guy had been permitted to smoke unabated (I had a friend who still worked there). He set himself on fire and sustained 3rd degree burns to his thighs and groin. He died 6 months later as a result of the burns.

    The facility was fined heavily by the state for not enforcing safety precautions including the apron...the States verdict was that a change in facility policy to safer smoking rules would not have been a violation of his rights-his family could have moved him if they/he didn't like the new rules.

    The family sued this 150 bed privately owned facility, forcing it into bankrupcy (tought tatas) and it was purchased by a large chain of Nursing facilities.

    So my second hand experience with the aprons is this...they work better than nothing.

  4. by   night owl
    Thanks for replying. Like I said, I had no idea this apron existed. Told the AHN (HN is out getting new pig heart valves) and she said, Oh yeah, I've seen those in a catalog that I have somewhere, I'll find it and see if I can order a few. I want to see how long this takes! I'm going to keep on her butt about it because my biggest fear is a resident going up in flames! The lawyers would have a wonderful time with us...Why wasn't he supervised? Well then why didn't he have an apron???? You're sued, and you lose your license!

    The resident's sister is already upset because his clothes are always dirty with ashes and pants have burn marks. Do you blame her? I don't. I'd already be looking into a negligence law suit if I were her.