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March 01, 2022

Six Homecare Business Professional Liability Scenarios

Have you ever stopped to think about what would happen to your business if there was an accident with one of your patients? Or worse, if there was negligence from one of your employees? It’s important to consider professional liability insurance to protect you and your business in the event an accident should occur — so you’re not left with a large claim, and your patients aren’t left without care. Take a look at these six common professional liability scenarios.

  1. Medicine Mistakes

With many patients to keep track of, countless distractions, and the consistency that’s required while administering medication, accidents are a definite possibility. Giving too much or too little medicine, or not giving the correct medication at the right time, are all problems that can have negative health implications for a patient. Even though mistakes are not intentional, they can result in lawsuits from your patients’ families. It’s important for caregivers to keep track of potential side effects of their patients’ medications and combined medications as well.

  1. Temperature Oversights

Elderly patients have more sensitive skin and aren’t able to regulate temperatures as well as young healthy people. A busy employee may fill the tub and forget to check the water temperature before a patient gets in. Patients can be seriously burned by scalding water temperatures, making this another common and expensive liability exposure. Burns can also happen in other ways if a caregiver allows a patient to get close to a hot stove burner, a portable heater, or an iron for example.

  1. Everyday Accidents Inside the Home

There’s a lot of movement involved with activities of daily living. A caregiver can hurt a patient while trying to get them dressed, while helping them get in and out of the bathroom, while helping them stand up and sit down, and in countless other situations. While all these injuries are accidental, intentions don’t matter when someone is hurt and left with the repercussions of healing from injury.

  1. Missteps Outside The Home

Caregivers help patients get in and out of vehicles for appointments. They also help them take walks outside for a breath of fresh air. While these outings are greatly appreciated, all it takes is one moment of distraction or one section of uneven pavement for a trip or fall to occur. Even if it’s outside of the home, the homecare provider is responsible for the patient’s well-being during hours of service.

  1. Unintentional Absence

Even though patients may require constant care, they are sometimes left alone while they are sleeping or while the caregiver is preparing a meal, for example. If patients have a need, they can be impatient and they don’t always wait for the caregiver to respond. Sometimes, they take matters into their own hands or they think they are able to do something they can’t. During these times when they are left alone, they may injure themselves. In reality, caregivers cannot supervise every patient at all hours of the day, so this is perhaps one of the most essential reasons liability protection is needed.

  1. Blatant Neglect or Abuse

You carefully interview and screen all your caregivers. Still, you never know what an unsupervised employee might do. If they choose to sleep on the job, watch TV or play games on their phone, patient neglect can occur. In the worst-case scenario, caregivers can lose their temper, get angry and abuse a patient on purpose. These situations often go unnoticed until there is a big problem. Unfortunately, by that time, it can be too late.

Owning a business to care for others is rewarding – and risky. It’s important to understand your company’s duty of care, and to put policies, procedures, training and safeguards in place to ensure your team performs according to your high standards.

Need Guidance?

As a small business, it can be tough to manage everything on your own. Thankfully, with a home care-specialized risk management partner, you have access to insurance coverage and risk management resources.

Heffernan Insurance Brokers has exclusive insurance programs dedicated to home care businesses, home health businesses and hospices, covering all states and agency sizes. They offer a quick and easy insurance application process, comprehensive coverage, and affordable rates.

Contact Tami Unsworth to learn more.  

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