There are numerous common risks caregivers face in the home care environment. Providing consistent, quality care to clients can be a challenge, and you also need to keep your home care employees safe and injury-free and protect the future of your business.
There are several steps your organization can take to minimize the risks you face. Hiring, training, organizational policies and procedures, employee supervision and risk management can all contribute to a safer and more effective home care organization. But what about the risk exposures that remain?
Even when your homecare organization ensures that everything is done by the book, mistakes can be made. Common risks caregivers face may lead to an accident, injury or client complaint which can result in a claim being made against your home care organization.
Claims in the healthcare industry are stressful, costly and may damage your reputation. Even baseless claims, where you and your caregiver employee have made no mistakes, must be defended against.
Proper insurance protection becomes a necessity to protect you, your caregiver employees and your clients from the risks you face. Consider these 10 common risks caregivers face and how to protect against them by ensuring your organization has the proper coverage.
1. Caregiver Lifting and Transferring Injuries
Caregiver employees have a high risk of suffering an injury while assisting with client movements like standing and sitting. Following proper lifting and transferring procedures can help. But proper workers’ compensation coverage is essential to help cover lost wages and medical costs if an employee is injured on the job.
2. Airborne and Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure
Exposure to airborne pathogens such as Coronavirus is a major concern for employees and clients. Bloodborne pathogens like HBV, HCV and HIV also present a risk to caregivers. Following recommended procedures reduces risk of exposure but general liability and professional liability insurance coverages can help protect your organization from patient claims.
3. Client Injuries During Bathing Assistance
The slick, wet surfaces of a confined home bathroom present a high risk of a fall and injury for clients during bathing assistance. Safety devices and proper assistance procedures lessen the chance of an accident. But your organization needs general liability protection to cover other allegations of bodily and physical injury.
4. Accusations of Caregiver Sexual Misconduct
Home care clients and their families entrust the client’s safety to caregiver employees. Careful hiring, background screening and training procedures can help protect clients, but the risk of a sexual misconduct accusation remains. Sexual misconduct coverage helps protect your organization against the costs associated with defending against a claim.
5. Auto Accidents During Travel Assistance
Clients depend on caregiver employees for all sorts of travel assistance, including trips to
doctor appointments, the pharmacy, running errands and more. A car accident can cause bodily injury to the client, caregiver or a third party, and damages to personal property. Hired and non-owner automobile liability insurance provides excess coverage for bodily injury and the vehicles of employees and clients.
6. Damage Caused to a Client’s Property
In the home care environment, employees may face accusations of damaging a client’s property despite their best efforts, such as knocking over a prized heirloom or causing damage to the home itself. General liability coverage helps protect your organization from these accusations of property damage.
7. Theft, Burglary and Robbery of Client Property
Clients and their families welcome employees into the client home with an expectation of honesty. Hiring and background screening can reduce risk of an employee being accused of theft, but not eliminate it. Theft coverage can help protect your organization from client allegations of theft, burglary or robbery by a caregiver employee.
8. Failure to Report Patient Complaints
Home care employees are expected to note and report all patient complaints of mistreatment, falls, illness or condition to a supervisor. When a client’s complaint is not promptly reported and documented, the caregiver and organization may face a claim of negligence or failure to perform professional duties. Professional liability coverage can help protect you from these claims.
9. Errors Concerning Medication or Dosing
Home care employees must administer the right medications in the right dosages while following the most up-to-date physician instructions. Caregivers must also monitor that a client doesn’t take too much medication. In the event of an error, professional liability insurance protects you from claims concerning medication and dosing errors.
10. Claims of Negligent Treatment Services
Doctors’ orders and treatment plans can change quickly. With the right communication and care procedures in place, the risk of an employee mistake is lower but not eliminated. Failure to follow the proper care plan could result in illness or injury and lead to a claim of negligence. However, with professional liability coverage your organization is protected.
These are just some of the common risks caregivers face in the home care environment. Even with the best training and procedures, mistakes can be made. Make sure your organization is fully protected with all the insurance coverage you need.
With an insurance package from Lockton Home Care, your operation has access to General Liability and Professional Liability, Workers’ Compensation, Hired and Non-Owner Auto, Theft coverage and Sexual Misconduct coverage to fully protect you and your employees.