LPN and LVN: Clinical Pathways

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Posted on 1st June 2010 by admin in Uncategorized

Clinical pathways are set plans for the care of a patient with a specific medical diagnosis and as such, they are not easily individualized.  It is important to select a pathway that fits the most pertinent needs of the patient.  These pathways allow for expected variances but cannot possibly anticipate all combinations of factors.  On the positive side, clinical pathways support continuity of care and coordinate care across the the clinical disciplines by providing clinical guidelines for care.  They help reduce risks and contain costs.  Outcomes and documentation are usually improved significantly by use of pathways.  Pathways are designed to standardize care and to improve the quality of care and outcomes.  One of the most beneficial aspects of clinical pathways is that they include the whole team in planning and implementing care.  This includes the patient who is a major partner and player in the entire process.  You may have learned a specific technique for a procedure in school or learned that this technique replaces one commonly used for years.  When you observe a nurse, LPN or LVN doing a different or possibly an obsolete technique, don’t rush in with an attitude of “this is the way it should be done” or this is the way we did it in school”.  There are several acceptable ways of doing something, none of which poses a risk for the patient.  Your way is what you are comfortable with and someone else’s way may be very different.  If a patient asks, you should always explain there are several methods to accomplishing the same result sometimes.  When following clinical pathways, there is not a lot of flexibility to defer, however, there is room for method when practicing outside of pathways.

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