Litigation against nursing facilities and those who staff them continues to increase, leading to a demand for risk management approaches to nursing home liability concerns. The services of a long-term care facility are varied, but the general nature of the health and physical condition of elderly residents leads to a higher potential for injury.
What Are the Clinical Areas of Liability?
Though nursing home insurance provides a financial defense during litigation, the best defense is a proactive approach to managing risks and minimizing exposures. This means clearly outlining the facility’s concerns and formulating a strategy to prevent and respond to liability situations.
Falls are one of the leading liability concerns in nursing homes, as falls often lead to broken bones, concussions, contusions, immobility, and other serious health concerns. Of course, not all falls are the result of negligence, but nursing homes are generally responsible for the well-being of the residents. They must bear the liability when negligence has been proven in court. Training programs for staff, education for residents, and developing a safe environment within the facility are often components of a risk management strategy for fall prevention.
Hydration and Nutrition
Elderly individuals are easily susceptible to dehydration and malnutrition, and poor oral intake can lead to alarming medical concerns with individuals in a long-term care facility. The development of infections, pressure ulcers, unexplainable weight loss, and other caloric and fluid intake conditions are liabilities that need to be carefully addressed. Notifying family members of dietary changes, documenting interventions, and relying on the attending physician’s health assessment can disprove claims of negligence.
Residents in nursing homes are often on medications prescribed by their personal physicians. In some unethically operating facilities, it has been found that sedation medication has been administered to residents to induce a more docile state in the resident. This violates federal regulations regarding resident care. Monitoring the effects of any psychotropic medications administered, staying in constant contact with family members, and consultations with the attending physician about pharmacologic intervention can reduce concerns with potentially using medications as a restraint.
Pressure ulcers are another area prone to litigation, with high settlements, verdicts, and payouts showing the serious damage a claim in the area could cause. With many believing these ulcers can be prevented, this increases the potential for liability on the part of a facility. Though experts differ on the absolutes of pressure ulcer prevention, a risk management approach with mobilization, relief measures, and nutrition is important.
At each level of contact and care within a facility, caregivers and administration must recognize the impact of both the actions and inactions that could lead to a lawsuit. Nursing home insurance and preventative care steps should be elements of a risk management approach.
About The Hilb Group
Deciding what coverage you need and what limits and deductibles make the most sense can be tricky. Founded in 2009, the Hilb Group has been helping clients to make sense of their options and make the smartest choices for their circumstances. Whether you need Warehouse Insurance or any other type of business or personal coverage, we encourage you to contact our friendly, experienced, and capable team today. Call us at (800) 776-3078 for a consultation.