Assisted Living: Managing Risks During the Holiday Season
With the holidays upon us, we’ll be seeing more and more family members visiting their loved ones at assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Out-of-town relatives will be making annual trips to facilities, and locals will be taking the children to see grandma or grandpa during school breaks. This is not only an ideal time for facilities to showcase their high level of care, it is also wise to make sure that extra precautions are taken to minimize liability risks with the additional flow of traffic as family, additional staff and volunteers at the facility partake in holiday festivities.
Putting Up Decorations
Staff should take great precautions when using ladders and stools to reach high places when putting up holiday decorations. If there is a need to climb on the roof to install lights or other decorations, before using a stool or ladder, make sure it’s in good condition. It’s especially important with step stools to check that slip-resistant feet or pads are in place and not worn through. Broken or damaged stools and ladders should be disposed of, so they can no longer be used. Of course, once the holiday season is over, decorations must be taken down, packed up and placed back in storage. Here again, employees and volunteers need to be reminded about the ways they can help prevent injuries to themselves, residents and visitors.
Slips & Falls
Slips and falls account for almost 70% of injuries to residents or visitors at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. With the holiday season in mind, the staff should ensure that decorations and electrical cords do not create trip hazards. Cords must be properly routed away from walking areas. If they must extend across a walking area, tape down the cords or cover them with floor cord covers.
Facilities should never sell alcohol. Furthermore, if a senior living facility is going to provide alcohol during the holidays, it’s essential that management determine if alcohol is consistent with a resident’s care plan. A nursing team should evaluate if it’s appropriate for each resident to have alcohol and in what quantity and share this information with staff. If alcohol is to be served, it should be served with food and in limited portions. Moreover, residents with memory loss or a history of alcoholism should never be served alcohol. Also, the facility should consider switching to nonalcoholic options.
Management at assisted living facilities and nursing homes should review their risk management program and loss control measures to ensure that extra care is implemented during the hustle and bustle and merriment of the holiday season. This will help mitigate risk and stem losses.
Caitlin-Morgan specializes in providing insurance and risk management solutions to senior living facilities, including to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Give us a call at 877.226.1027 to discuss how we can help provide your insured with a comprehensive and broad program.