Trusting a loved one’s care to someone outside the family is often an emotional decision. Expectations for home health aides, nurses, and other home care professionals are high. Every family wants their loved ones to be treated with respect and dignity as they receive the best care possible.
With emotions running high, a small mistake could have big consequences. Lawsuits alleging malpractice in nursing and home health care are common. An angered family may file a lawsuit against the home health agency they’ve entrusted with their loved one’s care, claiming negligence or a failure to meet healthcare standards.
Identifying the areas where you might be at risk could help you avoid many lawsuits against your home health agency.
What does malpractice in home health care look like?
There are many potential triggers for malpractice lawsuits in nursing homes and home health aides and hospice workers. Examples of malpractice in nursing include:
- Failing to create and follow standards of care
- Misusing equipment
- Poor communication between carers and patients, families, and/or other medical professionals
- Failing to document care or changes in a patient’s condition
- Failing to advocate for your patient
These are a few common examples of medical malpractice, but you could be sued even if a mistake or oversight has not occurred. Families might allege negligence simply because they are unhappy with the level of care you provided and may sue to recoup the money they spent on your services and other alleged losses.
Creating a Risk Management Plan
So how can home health care agencies and nursing homes avoid expensive malpractice lawsuits? Creating a risk management plan is one way to cope with potential claims.
A risk management plan is the steps you take to avoid mistakes on the job. While some events may be outside your control, risk management can help you handle the ones that are.
Though risk management plans may sound technical or complicated, they are often simple. To write one, you should first brainstorm how something could go wrong in your workplace. Then, come up with practical solutions that could help keep them from happening. For example, you might require your staff to clean up spills immediately to avoid slip and fall injuries.
Home Health Aide Tips for Avoiding Lawsuits
Every small business is different, even those in the same industry. It’s important to consider how your home health agency or business may be vulnerable to lawsuits and take steps to minimize these risks.
However, here are some home health tips for avoiding lawsuits against your home health agency to kick off your brainstorming session:
- Hire the help you need – Patients must receive a minimum standard of care, even if you are shorthanded. Understaffing your business could cause many problems, such as rushed care and cutting corners, that may result in a negligence lawsuit.
- Take documentation seriously – The records you keep may provide evidence during a lawsuit. Good record-keeping practices should be followed carefully. This may include noting when medications are given, changes in a patient’s health, who was notified of this information, and other details related to patient care.
- Record dates and times – The date and time when an event occurred can be crucial information in a malpractice lawsuit. Staff should include dates and times in patients’ records and legibly sign their names when noting patient details.
- Provide ongoing training – Refresher courses in safety and best practices could help you avoid many lawsuits. Schedule regular, ongoing training to remind staff how to safely interact with patients, handle accidents, and other information relevant to their jobs and how you do business.
What is home health insurance?
A risk management plan could help you avoid many lawsuits against your home health agency. However, you may still be sued despite your best efforts. Mistakes happen, and some things are beyond your control. You could still be held responsible and might want a backup plan if this happens.
Home health care provider insurance acts as a safety net should your risk management plan fail. Professional Liability and General Liability insurance helps protect you and your employees from malpractice lawsuits. Rather than pay compensation from your bank accounts, these policies will cover the costs associated with the claim or legal action.
BizInsure is proud to help home health agencies and home care workers across the country protect their businesses. Compare quotes and buy insurance that fits your needs today!