Professional Liabilities of Nursing Homes

Professional Liabilities of Nursing Homes

By the year 2050, it is estimated that the number of nursing home and home health care services will increase to 27 million, in comparison to 15 million in the year 2000, largely due to the Baby Boomer generation aging and preparing for retirement in the coming decade. The oldest of the Boomer generation began turning 66 at a rate of 10,000 a day beginning in the year 2012, and the population is only continuing to age. While some senior citizens may be all right remaining in their homes, there are many who require specialized services. It may be health-related, or it could be social. Nearly 50 percent of adults over the age of 80 report suffering from loneliness (twice as high as the number of younger adults), which often happens when they remain in their homes and become isolated from family and friends.

There are many common misconceptions surrounding life in nursing homes and their benefits and risks. While many believe that nursing homes have no privacy, do not allow their patients to make their own decisions, rely on medication, and do not provide the same level of care as a hospital, these are not accurate concerns. Nursing facilities come in many forms, each facility offers its own different level of treatment tailored to residents with different needs, and they certainly allow patients to retain their individuality. However, what nursing home staff members should be concerned about is potential professional liability claims.

Professional liability insurance is important for the staff of nursing homes to protect themselves against claims arising regarding their “professional services”. One example from a 2007 case saw that a nurse who neglected to turn on the air conditioning during a heat wave and later lost patients was guilty of not upholding professional services. Professional services is a broad term that can include many of a facility’s standard operations, and many of them may not be covered by general liability insurance, making professional liability a crucial policy to protect the facility.

Some of the most common professional liability suits against nursing homes include:

  • Errors in administering medication
  • Failure to properly diagnose and/or treat residents
  • Improperly maintaining the facility, resulting in resident injury or illness
  • Failure to hire adequate staff, whether it is inadequate numbers of employees or under-prepared employees
  • Violating resident rights

Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at 317.575.4454.