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Duty to Provide Care


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You are an LPN working as a casual at a long-term care facility. Your employer calls you into work for a care aide shift. During breakfast, your resident suddenly stops breathing and begins to turn blue. What is your responsibility in this emergency?


A: Provide the best care you can, given the circumstances and your individual competence.

That’s correct! In situations involving imminent risk of death or serious harm that arise unexpectedly, LPNs are ethically obligated to provide the best care they can. (See Principle 2 in the Duty to Provide Care Practice Standard and page nine of BCCNP’s Scope of Practice document).

B: Provide all the care that the resident requires.

That’s not correct. In an emergency, LPNs provide the best care they can, given the circumstances and their individual competence. (See Principle 2 in the Duty to Provide Care Practice Standard).

C: Providing emergency care is optional because you are working as a care aide.

That’s not correct. LPNs who are working as a care aide still have a Duty to Provide Care. In an emergency, LPNs provide the best care they can, given the circumstances and their competence. (See Principle 2 in the Duty to Provide Care Practice Standard).

D: Ask the RN or LPN on duty to call 911 and wait for emergency services to arrive.

Employers and LPNs should not rely on the emergency exemption when an activity is considered a common and expected part of LPN practice in that setting. The emergency exemption is meant to deal with situations involving imminent risk of death or serious harm that arise unexpectedly and require urgent action. (See the Scope of Practice for more information).​​​​​

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