Slip, trips and falls come with exceedingly high stakes when they occur in healthcare facilities. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are somewhere between 100 and 200 reports of falls each year from healthcare facilities categorized as nursing homes, but they also note a lack of accurate data since these types of falls frequently go unreported. Despite the lack of accurate data received from healthcare facilities, slips, trips and falls remain the most common source of injury for patients in healthcare facilities – and also an extremely common injury for facility workers as well.
The frequency of slips, trips and falls in healthcare facilities bring about a number of concerns for facility owners. Patient injuries in healthcare facilities can lead to functional decline, reduced independence, reduced quality of life and even death – especially for elderly or disabled patients – and repeat slip or fall incidents can also cause feelings of helplessness, depression, anxiety and social isolation. Employees’ slips, trips and falls can affect their ability to care for patients and can result in serious injury, reduction in productivity, lost work days and costly workers’ compensation claims. There is also the added risk of visitors falling, potentially leading to bodily injury claims against the healthcare facility.
Reducing Risk and Liability
In a healthcare facility setting it is not possible to completely prevent all slips, trips and falls. After all, the very nature of a healthcare facility requires frequent cleaning of floors that are commonly made of tile, vinyl or a similar slippery substance. Not all falling-related injuries will lead to claims or lawsuits either, however research does show that a majority of healthcare facility falls are preventable.
Liability is typically applied to a healthcare facility if the facility or its staff acted negligently or failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a fall from occurring. In other words, actions or inactions that directly lead to or could have directly prevented a fall from happening are a liability concern.
Healthcare facilities can reduce some of the risk of slips, trips and falls with a few techniques:
- Assessing new patients and periodically re-assessing long term patients for possible falling risks as well as to identify potential modifications to enable safer mobility of the patient in question.
- Maintaining a high degree of education on fall prevention and policies among the staff; including caring for patients with increased fall risks, reducing environmental hazards that can cause fall risks and proper procedures to follow if a fall occurs.
- Obtaining coverage from comprehensive healthcare facilities insurance programs that can address the unique liabilities of healthcare facilities and assist with risk management.
About Highland Risk Services
At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (847) 832-9100.