Assisted living facilities that care for aging, medically compromised adults are seeing liability claims are on the rise. According to a report by the insurance company CNA, the average assisted living liability claim cost was $267,174 in 2021, up from $152,348 in 2018. In 2023, commercial insurance broker Marsh predicts claim frequency, claim severity, and loss rates will continue to increase. That’s where risk training for assisted living facilities can help.
Falls make up 54.8% of all liability claims with an average claims cost of $239,074. Dementia and a prior history of falls were prevalent in liability claims arising from falls. But many falls are preventable, according to John Atkinson, Managing Director and Chairman of Marsh Chicago. He added that operators ought to invest in “risk management, falls management programs and technologies to help manage and reduce falls.” Administrators can reduce the potential for liability claims with risk training for assisted living staff. A key is to help team members learn to recognize which residents are most in danger of falling and how to prevent or reduce falls.
While elopement accounted for only 1.8% of claims, the average assisted living liability claim was over $400,000. More than half of elopements occur within the first few days of admission to an assisted living community. To help reduce liability, staff should screen new residents for elopement risks and assign them to rooms in areas that are easily supervised and far away from exits. Wandering assessments should be conducted regularly and security measures implemented to detect if vulnerable residents attempt to leave while unsupervised. Adopting an emergency preparedness plan can help to mitigate incidents of elopement. For more information, check out our blog on elopement prevention.
Medication errors also contribute significantly to liability claims. Among the causes of medication errors are: Miscalculations in dosing, mismanagement in administration, illegible handwriting and human error. Caitlin Morgan, an insurer specializing in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, offers these tips for reducing liability from medication mistakes:
- Write down the precise medication dosage to eliminate confusion.
- Consider patient risk factors like age, body weight, and underlying health concerns.
- Provide clear directions and supplemental instructions on dosage and administration of drugs.
- Raise alert levels for high-risk medications.
- Adopt cross-checking of dosage calculations before drug administration.
- Ask for clarification; do not assume the meaning of abbreviations or illegible writing of prescriptions.
Abuse and neglect
Abuse, neglect and failure to monitor contribute to liability claims. Training staff on proper implementation of procedures and also how to recognize and report instances of abuse and neglect can improve resident life and reduce the number of liability claims.
Risk training for assisted living resources
SeniorLivingU, located in Hershey, PA, provides risk training for assisted living administrators and staff. Comprehensive training materials are available through the Anytime Online Learning Portal, certificate programs, manuals and textbooks, DVDs and instant downloads, including:
- Administrator and management resources, such as Taking Administration to the Next Level manuals
- DVDs, such as Reducing Resident Falls and Abuse and Neglect: Play, Pause, & Review!
- Comprehensive staff training packages, such as Medication Training, which includes manuals, an instructor guide, DVDs, quizzes, and downloadable certificates.
For common questions about our assisted living education or information about how to purchase our educational products, visit our FAQ page. Contact us today to learn more about SeniorLivingU and the services and resources we provide.