Developing an Assisted Living Risk Management Program: Training and Educating Healthcare Providers
Assisted living facilities are designed to provide long-term care for residents in a safe and comfortable environment. Assisted living facilities, their staff, and their management teams work hard to provide this level of care, keeping in mind the unique litigation risks and exposures these facilities and the industry at large faces on a daily basis. Assisted living insurance is one of the major ways that care facilities can protect both their assets and their personnel from the losses associated with liability claims. Another major tool in mitigating risks is the role of healthcare provider education and training. Caregiver training can help keep facilities in compliance with state and federal regulations. It is also a critical component of risk management, helping staff to identify potential risks and to develop solutions for protecting against those risks.
Caregiver Education and Training: OSHA Guidelines
There are myriad regulatory agencies governing the practices and operation of assisted living facilities – on the local, state, and federal levels. One of the most important agency is that of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which has established guidelines designed to protect caregivers employed by long-term care facilities. While OSHA’s guidelines are not rules, per se, they have been adopted throughout the healthcare industry as best practices.
Education and training form the core of many guidelines, including those of OSHA. Of particular note is the concept of training for facilities that provide specialized care for residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other debilitating mental illnesses. Staff training on the symptoms, warning signs, and disease progress is critical to helping mitigate the risks associated with these conditions. Left unrecognized, dementia can lead to patient injuries. It can also result in property damage or loss. By training caregivers to intervene on behalf of patients, both the facility’s interests and the staff themselves gain protection.
Other specialized training is considered part of an assisted living facility’s duty to their residents. Routine training and education programs typically consist of topics like:
- Safety and awareness
- Dietary considerations
- Health care laws and responsibilities
- Common conditions (mental and physical) experienced by the elderly population
- Emerging risks
- Immunizations and disease vectors
- Resident/patient privacy considerations
In addition to protecting facilities and their staff from the risks associated with the long-term healthcare industry, training programs can also “fill the gap” in terms of employee experience. Robust on-the-job training programs prepare caregivers to deliver outstanding care, regardless of the circumstances and conditions of their resident populations.
Assisted Living Insurance: The Cornerstone of Risk Management
Assisted living facilities face many risks, especially as our elderly population increases. According to studies published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), resident populations of nursing homes, skilled care facilities, and long-term assisted living facilities are expected to increase to 27 million people by the year 2050. Currently, about 15 million people rely on the care these facilities provide.
Assisted living insurance is one of the primary ways that facilities can manage their risks. By protecting staff, managers, and the facilities themselves from the losses associated with litigation, these crucial facilities can continue to deliver care to their residents. Most assisted living insurance plans offer professional and general liability as well as coverage for violation of residents’ rights, property damage, business interruption, and employment practices liability. By implementing a rigorous and regular training program, assisted living facilities can help manage the risks they face as a part of providing care. Insurance then, is a vital supplement and support to the overall risk management plan.
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.