General liability issues are a big concern at nursing homes due to the nature of those who are being cared for at these types of facilities. You have residents who are often frail or lack mobility and are prone to accidents and injuries on the premises.
This is why it’s so critical that nursing homes have a loss control program that encompasses good housekeeping procedures and practiced emergency response in addition to security, facility maintenance and proper supervision of off-site resident outings.
Following are several recommendations you can provide to your nursing home clients:
- When establishing a housekeeping program, be sure there is a schedule of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual tasks with documentation that illustrates that all tasks are being maintained. For instance, to stem the possibilities of falls and slips, floors should be swept or vacuumed daily. Floors that tend to be frequently wet, such as those in the bathrooms, should be mopped as necessary.
- Schedule routine and preventive maintenance of all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems to ensure they remain operational. The staff at the nursing home should routinely inspect resident’s safety equipment, such as a shower and toilet grab bars, and in-room call buttons. Be sure furniture is sturdy and does not pose hazard exposures.
- Have a detailed emergency action plan. Last month, we wrote a blog about how a disaster can be deadly for a nursing home without a proper plan in place. So many nursing homes around the country have gaps in their emergency plans. A plan should provide response procedures in the event of a fire, power failures, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, etc., and other disasters based on where the nursing home is geographically located. Staff should be trained and re-trained annually, with practice drills performed quarterly or based on the timeframe required by local ordinance. Be sure the facility is inspected weekly for safety code compliance, with exits clearly marked and panic hardware on doors operating freely. All alarms, sensors and monitors should be tested and maintained.
- Security is key and must be properly maintained, including having control over visitors to the facility. Don’t permit visitors to wander around the facility, instead be sure there is one central lobby for entrance. Exterior doors should be locked on the outside.
- When planning an off-site trip, make sure transportation for the residents is safe and that you have enough staff members or volunteers on hand to assist and supervise your residents. Depending on the venue, be sure it can accommodate individuals with special needs before you go there.
We can assist you with risk management and loss control programs for nursing homes and other healthcare facilities, in addition to providing coverage, including General Liability, Professional Liability, and Excess Liability, for your clients. Give Caitlin-Morgan a call at 877.226.1027.