Ensuring Nursing Home Patient Safety During Outings

From time to time, nursing home residents may go out on outings or day trips accompanied by staff and caregivers. These trips provide several benefits to elderly patients, including maintaining physical and mental health, ensuring continued well-being, managing depression, and reducing stress. 

But there are also risks to consider any time residents are brought outside nursing homes. Although nursing home insurance can protect facility owners and administrators from the legal consequences arising from untoward incidents, it won’t prevent accidents or injuries from occurring. 

Below are some tips on how owners and administrators can keep nursing home patients safe during outings. These steps could also help your clients avoid personal liabilities arising from damage or injury claims. 

1. Allow plenty of time to plan outings 

It is crucial to make preparations for the outing as far ahead as possible. This is especially important if the residents have never been to the trip destination before. Adequate research is a must to minimize risks and ensure that all precautions are taken. 

The planning committee should include the facility manager or administrators and the nursing and auxiliary staff who will accompany the patients on the trip. If possible, a pre-visit to the location should be scheduled. 

2. Ensure appropriate clothing and footwear 

Residents should have the right clothing and footwear for the location and the weather conditions on the day of the trip. They should dress warmly but comfortably in colder weather and wear light, airy clothing on warmer days. 

Residents should also use sensible, comfortable footwear that reduces the risk of tripping, slipping, or falling. Shoes should allow for easy movement when going up ramps or steps or entering and exiting the vehicle. 

3. Arrange appropriate transport 

The vehicles to be used on the trip should be large enough to accommodate all the residents who will be coming along, as well as nurses, caregivers, and other personnel. It should allow for easy access, especially for older patients and those with reduced mobility. 

If any patients need assistance with getting on or off the vehicle, there should be sufficient maneuvering room for the person assisting. A van or large SUV might be necessary to accommodate wheelchairs and other essential equipment. 

The vehicle should be checked for safety and optimum operating condition a few days before the trip and then again the day before. This will minimize the risk of breakdowns that can delay the journey back and possibly compromise the residents’ health, safety, and comfort. 

4. Consider the residents’ care and medication needs 

The residents’ needs should always be the top priority throughout the entire outing. Trip planners should consider the care and medication requirements of every patient that comes along, as well as their comfort. 

Depending on the age and physical condition of the patients, occasional rest breaks may be necessary. Nurses and caregivers should also be prepared to administer medications on schedule as needed and provide emergency medical care if the situation calls for it. 

5. Bring enough trained personnel along

There should be enough trained personnel along on the trip. Of course, having a nurse for each patient could be difficult and impractical and even unnecessary in most cases. But those with impaired mobility will need a dedicated attendant or caregiver. 

At the very least, there should be two caregivers or orderlies for a group of five to 10 residents and more for larger groups. There should also be a nurse or two onboard in case medical care is necessary. 

6. Consult with primary care physicians 

Any trip‒especially if it lasts more than a few hours‒should only be undertaken with the approval of the residents’ primary care physicians. This is especially important for patients with serious health conditions that require frequent monitoring and special care. The person in charge of the tour should also be able to contact primary care physicians and emergency medical personnel if it becomes necessary to do so. 

7. Get the right insurance coverage 

Finally, nursing home administrators should have appropriate insurance coverage and ensure that the premiums are paid up. If anything beyond control happens to the residents during the trip, having insurance coverage could help deal with any claims or potential liabilities that may arise. 

Even when taking all necessary precautions, accidents and mishaps can occur any time elderly patients are taken out of the safe and secure nursing home environment. Although there’s no 100% guaranteed way to prevent these unfortunate events, following the suggestions listed above can considerably reduce the chances of them occurring. And when combined with the right type of nursing home insurance, these tips can help your clients avoid potential liabilities arising from unexpected disasters.

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.