The nursing home industry is brimming with all types of exposures that you, as an owner, must deal with on a daily basis. It is a very rewarding business as well, that of ensuring the safety and well being of your clients, many of whom are senior citizens in their golden years. It is an environment fraught with risk of all shapes and sizes. The pressures that drive these risks spring from regulations, the reimbursement system (Medicare and Medicaid) and many other factors and forces at work.
Hip Fractures a major concern
Keeping patients safe from injury is of the utmost importance and a high priority for nursing homes. There is, quite naturally on your part, the desire to sustain high levels of clinical care, but this goes hand in hand with the equally important need to protect patients from injury, from a financial point of view. There looms the potential adverse financial impact, which might result from the tarnishing of your reputation, which doesn’t bode well in the competitive environment of privately owned nursing homes. This type of damage can be significant, especially with hip fractures representing two out of every five fall-related injuries in nursing homes.
Therefore the prevention of hip fractures is understandably a critical and ongoing challenge for facilities and their caregivers. Given the limited success of fall-prevention programs, many facilities are increasingly turning to fracture-prevention strategies that include the use of hip protectors. External hip protectors are being considered for those elderly clients with higher-than-average risk factors for hip fractures, though some surveys are uncertain of their effectiveness.
Increased costs for inpatient care is a concern
A recent comprehensive study found the average cost for inpatient care for hip fractures occurring in nursing homes to have risen to an average of around $29,000 per episode (not including the significant additional costs associated with skilled nursing care). Of particular importance to risk managers, to say nothing of owners, is the likelihood that changes in Medicare payments that already disallow reimbursement for fall-related injuries that occur in hospitals may be extended to nursing homes in the future as well.
Given the overall economic challenges of managing long term care facilities, this should provide an even greater incentive for reducing the incidence of fall related injuries, in particular hip fractures, in nursing homes.
You rely on your staff to do their best to avert situations where falls are likely to occur. Proper safety training and constantly updating safety procedures and techniques is a proactive way to keep personnel apprised of what needs to be done in any given situation. Providing quality care is the cornerstone of any good risk management for nursing homes.
Courtesy of: Farquhar & Black Massachusetts Insurance Agency
The only way to stay competitive in the contracting business is by controlling costs. Everything you require, from labor to materials and equipment, must be cost-effective. This means your contractors insurance protection should be cost effective as well. Helping you identify hazards and prevent losses on the job site provides you with the tools to control your insurance costs.
Preventing losses on the job site is vital
Always use employment applications and check references of prospective employees. You will need to provide written safety rules and be sure to enforce them. Safety rules should be based on OSHA, or other government agency safety requirements and accepted industry practices. Areas of particular concern include:
- Employees should have similar job experience, or be provided training in any job they may be assigned
- Assign responsibility for safety to a supervisor or foreman
- Hold regular safety meetings
- Conduct periodic safety inspections
- Review the safety practices of all subcontractors you have hired
- Have a first aid kit on site and available
- Post emergency phone numbers and have a phone available to summon help in the event of an emergency
- Have fully charged, easily accessible, portable fire extinguishers
In addition it is important to provide protective equipment such as safety glasses, hearing protection and hard hats.
Securing the job site will also prevent injuries
You can be held liable if kids or unwanted visitors can easily gain access to the site and suffer some type of injury. Fence the site to prevent vandalism and public access to hazardous areas and control access to customers and vendors. Consider any or all of the following that apply:
- Provide lighting when possible
- Barricade work areas and provide warning signs near excavations and other hazards
- Secure equipment and materials left on the job site
- Lock tools in boxes and secure large equipment with chains
- Limit tools and materials left on the site as much as practical
- Store/handle hazardous materials properly
- Follow precautions for welding and other hot work
- Safely shield or wet combustible surfaces
- Cease such operations at least thirty minutes before leaving the site unoccupied
- Have procedures for reporting and investigating incidents and accidents (lessons learned even from “near misses” may help to identify ways to avoid future accidents)
- Require proper use of ladders and scaffolds
- Limit the exposure of adjacent properties to damage and comply with all building and environmental codes
Implementing these safety standards will allow you to better protect both, your employees and your business from possible risks and exposures. Contractors insurance New York will provide protection when the unexpected does occur.
One concern involving assisted living facilities is the infestation of bed bugs from one single resident. In fact, bed bugs are becoming increasingly common in senior living communities due to their ability to travel easily from a resident’s previous home. In a group living arrangement, it is not simply the number of residents that compounds the likelihood of infestation, but the nature of these facilities that group interaction is often recommended, encouraged or even required as a form of therapy or as a measure of success.
Once in your community, these bugs can multiply and spread quickly, wreaking havoc throughout the building and affecting the well being of residents and staff. As part of your risk management for assisted living facilities, you must be prepared for infestations and know how to manage the problem efficiently and effectively. By recognizing signs of bed bug infestations and how to reduce the chances of one striking your community you’ll gain an understanding of how bed bug infestations occur and be able to build a risk management plan for dealing with this pest.
Bedbug tips for Senior Resident Housing:
The smaller and closer the living quarters, the more likely your residents may face the problem of bed bugs. If you do get bed bugs, it can be very costly both financially and emotionally. Here are some tips:
- Before moving a new resident in, have someone check the room (specifically problem areas like mattress and box spring seams) and look for brownish red spotting, shed bed bug skins, eggs, etc.
- Check to ensure that the place is clean and uncluttered (more clutter means a greater chance of bed bugs)
- Facility management should encase the mattresses, box springs, and pillows
- Make use of an anti-bedbug laundry bag, especially if the laundry is done communally
- Use metal (instead of wood) bed boards to make it more difficult for bed bugs to climb up
Being proactive in dealing with this issue will allow you to maintain a bug-free living facility and provide your residents with a comfortable place to live. Your efforts at maintaining a risk management plan for assisted living facilities will save you from costly extermination fees and business interruption.
One way companies gain a competitive advantage is by having a good group benefits Connecticut program, which provides you with the ability to attract and retain employees. When hiring potential candidates it is vital that you discuss the benefits package and all of the advantages you feel your company has over others in your industry.
Group health insurance is a critical component to a group benefits program, especially in today’s environment in which healthcare costs are rising and employers are looking for solutions to balance affordability and coverage. In addition to health insurance, the disability portion of a benefits plan is important to many employees, particularly those with families to support. When a physical injury keeps one of your key people sidelined and unable to work, disability insurance can help them get their bills paid. In many ways, disability insurance is as important as (and in some cases, even more important) than life insurance. Just look at the statistics:
- Every year, 12% of the adult U.S. population suffers a long-term disability
- One out of every seven workers will suffer a five-year or longer period of disability before age 65
- A person 35 years of age has a 50% chance of experiencing a three-month or longer disability before they reach age 65, and
- At age 45, the figure is 44%
Unfortunately most people don’t have the substantial savings to draw on in the event of a disability. Any money that has been set aside is likely for their children’s college education or their own retirement.
Disability policies and options
When looking at group plans it is important to consider what will satisfy the needs of a diverse workforce. The first variable is the amount of monthly benefit; most disability policies have a fixed monthly benefit that does not increase with time, although you can purchase extra coverage, or riders, that offer higher payment schedules.
The second variable is the definition of disability; it may be deemed the inability to perform the duties of a specific occupation, or the inability to perform the duties of any job for which that individual’s education and training make them qualified.
The third variable is the waiting period, or the amount of time one must be disabled before benefits kick in (the time can range from one week to two years, and the longer the wait the less the disability policy will cost).
Finally, the fourth variable is the benefit period, or how long they will receive monthly benefits once your policy starts paying, and this can range from six months to life, depending on what option is chosen as well as what the insurance company is willing to offer.
In addition to these variables, there are other coverage options, as well as a variety of other riders. The most important is a rider that pays if the employee can only remain or return to work part-time.
Group benefits plans should be considered a vital part of any employee retention plan and deciding on the right plan is the first step to building a solid foundation of dedicated workers.
For many working in the senior living industry, on-the-job injuries are an all too common occurrence. In assisted living centers, for example, employees may be faced daily with the arduous task of lifting, bending, and twisting in their efforts to help many of the elderly residents perform their daily activities. This type of constant movement can take a toll on the back, even though personnel may be well trained in how to safely work with the elderly.
A strained back can become a serious issue, causing the individual a great deal of pain, as well as resulting in many days of missed work. Assisted living workers compensation insurance will provide relief for you, as an owner, when this situation arises and provide the care needed for the injured worker to get better and hopefully, return to work when they are fit to do so.
When an employee is hurt on the job, as their employer you need to act responsibly to ensure they are cared for, hoping they can come back to work as soon as possible, and that they are fairly compensated while they are injured. While workers’ comp programs vary from state to state, they are all designed to meet those goals.
Some claims may go on for a substantial period of time
One of the issues many employers face is the fact that a claim can occur that may last for years. Sometimes a claim that’s not very serious can become a problem. For example, a claim of one sort might develop into something different and need to be moved to another adjuster’s area of responsibility. When something like this occurs, it is in your best interest as the employer to have the case managers follow the flow of the client’s claim, from the onset of the injury to final resolution.
A return-to-work program can also aid in recovery
While returning to work has been deemed a great motivating factor for someone recovering from an injury, the recovering worker may not want to do it because the pain is still an issue. You may not want to lose a vital member of your staff and feel that staying home may cause he/she to suffer depression, or other symptoms associated with inactivity.
The insurance company may side with you and suggest light-duty things that the employee can do without hurting him or herself. The idea is for the employee to return to work in any capacity in order for the employee to feel, both needed, and a sense of self-worth.
Providing the proper assisted living workers compensation coverage is your legal obligation. Providing reassurance is something that most human beings need in order to get back to both, a physical and mentally fit state of being.
Courtesy of: Farquhar & Black Massachusetts Insurance Agency