The goal of any good risk management plan for nursing homes is to reduce or prevent the types of issues that pose a threat to the health and well being of those being cared for (as well as the workers, visitors, etc.) at the facility. Such risks may include not only injuries, but financial loss and preventable accidents as well.
It is the duty of the staff, management and supervisors to take all the necessary steps to accomplish this goal. Nursing home risk management will only succeed if everyone contributes by understanding and implementing safety procedures and making use of common sense.
- Risk identification – Workers often see situations or circumstances that can lead to risk but do (or say) nothing until it is too late. By reporting those incidents that have become so familiar is one way in which risks that have occurred during patient care are identified and where preventive measures can be put into place to avoid those risks in the future.
- Risk treatment – Eliminating a risk is called risk avoidance, which is the only sure way to avoid an identified risk. If certain services or procedures tend to end badly, or with less than desirable results, a decision should be made to no longer provide these services. Risk treatment should include purchasing liability insurance, (including professional liability) which will generally cover the workers and health care providers of the facility.
- Risk evaluation – This step requires reviewing the prior steps taken in the previous risk management process to determine if an overhaul is necessary. Where necessary, making positive changes will help to further meet the objectives identified.
- Risk management – The final piece of the puzzle, implementing a department that works closely with management to ensure that the first three steps are being properly implemented and the desired results are achieved.
The roles of everyone involved in a nursing home risk management program are essential to its success. First and foremost, monitoring and evaluating patient care is pivotal. Everyone from the nurses to the managers to other essential workers, all have the shared goal of quality patient care that should not be underestimated.
Incident and occurrence reports should be utilized as one means to correct nursing care that does not meet the patient’s needs and that may result in a serious injury or possible death of a patient. Holding meetings on quality management and utilization review committees is one way to meet the goal of maintaining quality patient care.