In New Jersey and other states, obesity can increase the likelihood of work-related injuries in the nursing community. Newer nurses with less than five years of work experience often leave the field because of these incidents, which are likely to continue. As obesity and comorbidities increase in the nation, the burden to provide custodial care to these patients falls on nurses.
Risks of heavier patients
Many patients are admitted into hospitals for obesity-related illnesses such as cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure events, diabetes, strokes, cancers and other diseases or injuries. Nursing shortages frequently prevent hospitals from assigning multiple nurses to each patient during shifts. At these times, nurses usually respond to patients independently.
Patients might fall on nurses due to a medical condition. Even healthy patients can suddenly slip and fall on nurses while showering or getting dressed for discharge. These and similar occurrences add risks of injury to nurses and increase workers’ compensation claims. In addition, understaffing leaves nurses alone with patients, so they are more likely to injure themselves as they attempt to move or adjust patients’ positions.
Patients who want their independence back may try to use the bathroom or shower alone, and this is where slip and falls occur. Some hospitals’ rules state nurses shouldn’t lift patients without help; based on that policy, some workers’ compensation claims might be challenging to prove.
How musculoskeletal disorders lead to workers’ comp claims
Other incidents involving nursing duties increase workers’ compensation claims. Musculoskeletal disorders come from repetitive movements such as typing on a keyboard, inserting the same parts repeatedly, lifting, climbing, twisting, reaching or crawling. These activities may not result in acute injury but could become problematic over time.
If you experience a workplace injury, the smart thing is to have a discussion with an experienced attorney. A skilled litigator who knows the law may provide assistance with your workers’ comp claim to help you get the compensation you deserve.