In the healthcare industry, facilities and their staff face numerous risks as they deliver care to patients. The nursing home industry is no exception, and in certain circumstances, these facilities may experience even higher risk exposures due to the advanced age and health conditions of their residents. Nursing home insurance is only part of a broader risk management strategy. There are several key factors to consider when developing a comprehensive risk management plan for the nursing home environment. With these factors accounted for, nursing home facilities can better prepare for established and emerging risks, helping to protect facilities, staff, and residents in the best way possible.
A Growing Need for Nursing Home Risk Management
In the United States, populations of senior citizens – those aged 65 years or older – is steadily increasing. The number of seniors receiving care in nursing homes and other long-term residential care facilities has also increased. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of residents in nursing homes was approximately 1.3 million people as of 2015; the population has slowly but steadily increased since then.
Rising resident rates increase risks for facility managers and staff. Staffing shortages that have plagued the nursing home industry have only complicated those risks, resulting in increased exposure to a wide variety of specific risks. From medical and prescription errors to slip and fall injuries, staff injuries, and elopement of residents, risk managers know that a plan must be in place to protect stakeholders.
Assessing Risks: The Cornerstone of Nursing Home Risk Management
To help reduce the chances of an avoidable injury or death within nursing home facilities, the risk management plan begins with a comprehensive overview of facility operations and potential hazards. Proactively identifying risks before they can cause issues is the key here; understanding risks and preparing procedures for reducing or eliminating those risks supplements the valuable protection of nursing home insurance.
Managers and staff should conduct a careful review of every aspect within the facility’s care delivery model, including:
- Procedures for lifting and repositioning residents.
- Evaluating medicine distribution and delivery systems.
- Identifying specific high-risk residents, such as those with dementia or cognitive disorders.
- Incident reporting tools.
- Staff training and retraining programs.
Documenting Injury Incidents
Healthcare monitoring organizations require detailed records of injury incidents as part of the regulatory oversight process. Documenting injuries, no matter how slight or seemingly insignificant, helps nursing homes avoid expensive fines and penalties. This documentation can be of great value in cases where residents or family members file legal claims against a given facility. More importantly, recordkeeping of injuries or other incidents can help pinpoint unforeseen risks, allowing managers and staff to mitigate those risks to prevent further injury.
Nursing home insurance serves to protect facility assets from loss. With a risk management plan in place, nursing home facilities can more adequately provide care without incurring excessive risks, adding value to resident care.
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.