Assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities have a duty to their patients of providing safe care in a compassionate and comfortable environment. There are many risks associated with assisted living facilities, and the best ones will have comprehensive risk management plans in place to help protect the facility, its staff, and its patients from losses arising from liabilities. While assisted living insurance is one major component of a risk management plan, there are many other considerations. In this guide, we will pinpoint best practices for assisted living facilities, helping clients to identify risks with the goal of preparing robust protocols for managing those risks.
Four Areas of Risk Assessment in Assisted Living Facilities
In the mid-1990s, several prominent assisted living trade organizations developed an overall risk-assessment protocol for the industry. This protocol included best practices that facilities could implement to help mitigate the identified risks. Today, this same protocol framework focuses on four major areas:
- Services – screening of new residents must occur before those residents move into the facility. This helps to ensure that the facility has the services in place for resident needs. Some residents may have higher risk levels, especially those with deteriorating mental or physical health. Assisted living facilities must also revisit their services plans on a regular basis to address any changes or concerns in service delivery to residents.
- Environment – assisted living facilities must be welcoming, comfortable, and safe. Achieving a home-like environment is the goal of the finest such facilities, and this includes aspects like privacy, independence, and individuality on behalf of the residents.
- Consumer Protections – consumer protections encompass a wide range of aspects from contracts to resident rights, staff responsibilities, payment and billing plans, and shared responsibilities between residents and caregivers.
- Management Responsibilities – facilities management teams should ensure that adequate staffing is in place as well as continuing education and training plans focused on monitoring resident’s physical and mental conditions. Of course, management teams are also responsible for identifying potential risks and working to eliminate or mitigate the risks before they can create legal issues.
With these four areas addressed, assisted living facilities can continue to deliver compassionate care to all residents, even those that may present unique or special risks. Protecting the facility against claims of negligence or inadequate care delivery is the primary benefit of developing a comprehensive risk management plan; assisted living insurance further protects the facility, its staff, and its assets from losses.
The Role of Assisted Living Insurance
Assisted living insurance is designed to provide protection against the losses arising from litigation, such as professional and general liability claims, property damage, or negligence claims filed by residents and/or their family members. Many insurance policies also include provisions for protection against claims of violation of residents’ rights, which is a growing risk in the assisted living industry. Insurance coverage helps to pay litigation costs, including legal fees and settlement payments.
It can be helpful to provide insurance agents with an understanding of the risks involved in the industry and to provide them with information about helping their client facilities mitigate those risks. The above guide to identifying risks is a great start, giving focus to the specific areas of concern. With this valuable insurance protection, long-term care facilities can protect their assets, continue operations, and provide residents with the care and comfort they deserve.
About Caitlin Morgan
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 877.226.1027.