Assault and Battery is a grave and serious concern in any workplace. In your CNA training you will become aware of the heavy penalties and repercussions of not taking the implications of assault and battery with the gravity they deserve. See our other articles on legal concerns and standard for other legal issues you may encounter in CNA training and employment.
Everything You’ll Learn About Assault and Battery in CNA Training
What is Assault?
Assault is the deliberate ATTEMPT to touch or threatening to touch another individual without their permission.
What is Battery?
Battery is the deliberate ACT of touching or threatening to touch another individual without their permission.
What is informed consent and how is it relevant to CNA training and employment?
Both terms, assault and battery, do not just cover violent actions such as hitting or kicking but also any action performed without the patient’s informed consent. Informed consent means that the patient must, not only be informed of the action that is about to be undertaken but the implications and consequences of the actions. It is not enough to assume that a patient will understand the effects of a procedure, we must explain in detail what is about to occur and the reasonably expected risks and ramifications. They must also agree to this action or activity after being made aware of these details. This consent can be withdrawn at any time and as you will learn in CNA training you must take all reasonable and safe actions to honor this. Patients have the right to refuse treatment and despite our dislike or disapproval of their choice to refuse care we are legal obliged to honor their decision except under extraordinary legal circumstances that involve court orders that are incredibly rare.
How do I avoid charges of battery in my CNA training and employment?
- Inform the patient of the details of the task you are about to undertake
- Ensure they understand what you have just told them
- Allow and encourage them to consider questions and feelings about the activity
- Respond to any questions, concerns or emotions that may come up as a result
- Secure their consent or refusal of treatment
- Respecting refusal; documenting and escalating the event to your supervising nurse
- Carry out treatment if accepted, DO NOT carry out treatment if refused
What is coercion?
During your CNA training and employment you will come across the issue of coercion repeatedly. Coercion is forcing a patient or resident to receive treatment or complete an activity against their will. This is often the result of the nurse or nursing assistant allowing their own personal medical opinions and knowledge to eclipse the patient’s right to refuse treatment. Whilst coercion is often borne out of concern, coercion is not acceptable in a medical facility except in exceptional circumstance. The incidence of coercion can be much more common where there is a treacherous grey area created by the situation in which mentally incapacitated individuals are no longer their own legal guardian. In this situation a family member generally receives the right to consent and gives their consent for a nursing home or medical facility to conduct the necessary treatments. Unfortunately this can mean that the individual refuses treatment but consent has been given by a third party acting on their behalf. In this instance you need to carefully weigh up the need for treatment versus the distress it may cause the patient.