If standards of care (SOC) were listed in a book titled, Standards of Care, then substandard healthcare would certainly be easier to identify.

The best way to locate and identify breaches in SOC is to have a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant® (CLNC®) analyze the medical records. He or she will be able to identify issues that support allegations and possible defenses and problems. Do locate SOC with:

  • State and federal agencies
  • Accreditation organizations
  • Medical and nursing practice acts or other ancillary services
  • Professional associations
  • Medical and nursing literature
  • Healthcare facility policies and procedures

The CLNC® will be able to analyze if a facility’s policies and procedures are consistent with the SOC prevalent at the time of the allegations. The medical experts in a case are not necessarily the best persons to perform this research. CLNC®’s quickly determine merit and can assist in locating the appropriate experts for the case.

Finally, the sieve that SOC need to be filtered through is the reasonable and prudent person concept:

A standard of care holds a person of exceptional skill or knowledge to a duty of acting as would a reasonable and prudent person possessing the same or similar skills or knowledge under the same or similar circumstances (Core Curriculum for Legal Nurse Consulting, Vickie Milazzo Institute).

It is important not to confuse “I would not have done it that way” with a breach in SOC. Just because healthcare providers do not agree on a plan of care or a procedure, that does not mean there is a breach in SOC. Heed the following don’ts when applying SOC:

  • Don’t let SOC complicate your case; remember the prudent person concept
  • Don’t exclusively rely on your experts to identify and apply SOC
  • Don’t confuse different medical methodologies with breaches in SOC

Don’t use an individual to review your medical records if the health issues are not in his or her area of expertise; have a CLNC® do this for you