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Proactive Risk Management in your ALF

By brian barrick
February 26, 2013

An assisted living facility helps residents with their day to day chores and ensures their well being, health and safety. These are dedicated professionals, who are giving their time and energy, for the welfare of others and yet, can still find themselves being sued.

Risk management today is a priority in any assisted living facility. Any assisted living facility, today, is governed and guided by guidelines for ‘Best practices and risk limiting protocols’ set up by the organization for assisted living.

Whilst the facilities have a professionally trained staff, that monitors the well being of each resident at every stage, risk cannot eliminated – a person can trip and fall at home and the same person can have a similar fall in the assisted living facility, but in the latter case, the facility gets sued for no fault of their own.

Some of the precautions that an assisted living facility can be taken to limit financial risk are:

  • Screening the senior: Before they move in, this includes health, mental and psychological status. A full head to toe assessment be made and any bruises, sores, skin tears etc. are documented.
  • Maintaining records: Keeping up to date information of a resident’s health and care at every stage; the contacts of physician, attorney, next of kin, records of guardianship, will, living trust, etc.
  • Contracts and agreements: The resident and their family members must be made aware and sign agreements and contracts for admission, transfer, discharge, billing and payments, types of services rendered or omitted, third party payments etc.
  • Negotiated risk: This is a mandatory precaution to be taken by the management, when a resident refuses a service, or their mental or physical conditions worsen and particularly when, a person is retained when they are beyond the scope of care provided by the facility. Any risk in a resident should be noted and brought to the notice of the family members, physician if possible with a solution.
  • Staff: Hiring of a well trained staff with experience is very important. Criminal checks must be done for all employees. They must be trained to follow the rules and regulations of the establishment. They must be continuously trained and have drills on using equipments and respond to certain emergencies, which could make a big difference between life and death and prevent risk related suits.

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