As a professional caregiver, your role is essential for patients to live safely and comfortably in their homes. However, working closely with patients in their personal space creates risks. Common hazards in home care—from miscommunications to injuries—can create problems for you and your patients.
A healthcare risk management plan could help you manage common hazards healthcare professionals face that can negatively impact you, your business and your patients.
Why is risk management important?
Every business faces risks, such as accidents, mistakes, wild weather and theft. Fixing the fallout of these business hazards can be time-consuming and expensive. Taking steps to prevent and minimize your business risks could save you time and money in the long run.
Hazards in home care may impact more than just the day-to-day running of your business. They can also negatively affect your patients and their families. In this way, healthcare risk management might also play a positive role in patient outcomes.
5 ways that caregivers can manage business risks
Here are five common home health risks and ways professional caregivers and home health care professionals can manage them in their businesses.
1. Keep your certifications up to date
You may need specific education, training, or certifications to work as a professional caregiver in your state. It’s important to keep these required certifications current to protect your patients and your business.
Certifications you may need to renew include:
- Continuing education to refresh your knowledge of patient care and safety.
- Training to review work policies and procedures (if you work for a home health agency).
- CPR, First Aid and other lifesaving certifications.
2. Perform a home safety assessment for your patients
A patient’s home may not be as safe as they think. Those with new injuries and health concerns may be especially unaware of hazards in their own house. Performing a safety assessment can make patients aware of potential issues and provide them with steps to correct them.
Common risks in patient homes include:
- Tripping hazards – Power cords, loose rugs or carpeting, items stored on the floor in halls or high-traffic areas, etc.
- Fall hazards – Slippery baths, showers, tiles and walkways are common causes of falls.
- Stairs – Aging patients and those with injuries may need to avoid using the stairs or install a chair lift to minimize the chances of a fall.
- Lighting – Dim or dark rooms may make trips and falls more likely and also make it difficult to read medication labels or instructions from healthcare professionals.
3. Keep detailed patient records
Professional caregivers often work with multiple patients at the same time, each with their own healthcare needs. But, even if you only work with one patient at a time, you may find that their medical requirements are complex.
Accurate record-keeping can help you track things such as:
- Medications – Ensuring patients are taking the correct dosage at the correct times.
- Health instructions – Care details provided by doctors, nurses, or other health professionals.
- Diet – What the patient ate and when.
- Changes in wellbeing – Physical and mental health changes may need to be shared with the patient’s medical team, family, and other carers.
4. Prioritize your physical and mental health
Caregiver burnout is a huge risk in the healthcare industry. Working with people on a personal level every day can take a toll on your mental health. Caregiving can also be physically demanding, leaving you tired and drained at the end of the day.
Healthcare professionals may preserve their physical and mental wellbeing by:
- Eating well
- Following an exercise routine
- Taking regular rest periods and time off to recharge
5. Consider business insurance
Accidents happen, and they can be expensive for professional caregivers. Lawsuits are an unfortunate and common risk in the healthcare industry. Sole proprietor caregivers may especially want to consider insurance to protect themselves financially.
Caregivers often buy insurance policies, such as:
Professional Liability – Protects your business against claims of negligence, misrepresentation or mistake, as well as document or paperwork errors.
General Liability – Protects businesses against the risk of customer injury and property damage.
Business Owner’s Policy – A combination of policies, combining covers such as General Liability insurance and business personal property coverage, to help protect small businesses from costly interruptions to service.
Creating a risk management plan
Every professional caregiver business is unique, and you may face risks beyond what is covered in this article. Making a list of potential risks to your business and strategies for addressing them could help you avoid many expensive claims.
And for the ones you can’t avoid, there may be insurance to help!
Finding home health care insurance to fit your business needs is easy with BizInsure. Compare quotes online or over the phone and buy in minutes—no complicated paperwork required. You’ll receive proof of insurance instantly, so you can get back to caring for your patients with greater peace of mind.
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