Many families are keeping senior members at home rather than choosing an assisted living or other residential health facility. However, families need to continue with their daily activities and need assistance caring for their elderly family member during a portion of the day. Adult care facilities provide this service. It is estimated that there are currently more than 4,000 of these facilities in operation and the number keeps growing. This is due in part to the increased life expectancy and better quality of life of our aging population. As the population of older Americans increases, so does the need for adult day care facilities.
Adult day care facilities provide meals and social activities for seniors. Additionally, medical and health services are available. The facility also administers medicine and provides necessary therapy. Of course, the variety of services increases the range of risk for both the senior participants and the employees.
Common risks associated with adult day care include, but are not limited to:
- Errors in administering medication
- Contagious diseases
- Food poisoning
- Reports of abuse or neglect
A risk management program for adult day care should identify operational risks and specify how those risks can be reduced. Additionally, procedures for emergencies and crises must be included. New employee and continuing education must be provided for all staff on the care expectations of the center. The risk management program should specify that:
- Only licensed medical personnel should be allowed to administer medications.
- All foods and food-preparation equipment must meet health standards for cooking and cleaning to prevent food poisoning and food borne illness.
- Foods should be cut into small, easily swallowed pieces before serving to reduce choking risks.
Avoidance of Abuse and Neglect
It takes a special person to work with seniors. Adult care providers who do not receive the proper training may not always be gentle and kind with seniors. The adult day care facility should take steps to avoid physical abuse. Additionally, security measures should be in place to prevent financial abuse – the accessing of bank accounts or other personal financial information. Psychological abuse, such as insults, isolation, or humiliation can also be a problem.
It is important to have an adequately staffed facility so that patients receive the medical attention and assistance they require. Staff must also receive adequate training on how to meet the needs of the elderly. Malnutrition, sores, and dehydration are some of the results of neglect reported at adult day care facilities.
Older adults have suppressed immune systems. Therefore, it is important for adult day care workers to wash their hands and observe all appropriate sanitation methods. This includes food preparation. Additionally, staff members should be up-to-date on immunizations to help prevent the transmission of communicable diseases.
Risk Management Requirements
Most states have risk management requirements for adult day care centers. Areas that must be addressed in a risk management program usually include:
- Training of staff
- Maintenance of facility
- Food storage, service, and sanitation
- Storage of chemicals, medications, and supplies
- Emergency preparedness, including fire and evacuation procedures
- Transportation (if provided by the facility)
Adult day care facilities must do everything possible to reduce risks for elderly participants, their families, and staff members. It is important that adult day care facilities are backed by all the right insurance, including general liability and workers’ compensation. At Highland Risk Services, our experienced staff is ready to assist you and your clients with your adult day care facility insurance needs. Please contact us by calling one of our two offices in Chicago at 847-832-9100 or Lansing at 517-676-7100.