Within the confines of a nursing home facility there are several risks associated with caring for the elderly, which can result in alleged malpractice situations. To help stem potential malpractice incidents, risk management is key and is the responsibility of every member of the staff, including the contractors of those health care facilities.

Effective risk management requires proactive measures; that is, solving problems before they occur in lieu of taking reactive response. A proactive measure should involve the collation of data and outcomes reporting – garnered from previous experiences. Data, which is continually analyzed for potential improvements and deficits in care, can go a long way in determining what course should be taken to improve existing conditions.

Skilled nursing facilities should also carefully examine and analyze reported data in order to intelligently target risk management resources to identify ‘at risk’ residents and thereby effecting a measurable change. For example, those with impaired vision or diseases such as arthritis are more susceptible to falls and increased vigilance must be implemented. Broken equipment, such as a cane, walker, wheelchair, or wheelchair brake will cause a person to fall; measures need to be in place to report all impaired equipment to nurses.

How this Data Can Best Serve a Nursing Facility

Litigation continues to increase as a result of consumer awareness. What’s more, the federal government is increasing its monitoring of care provided to individuals in institutions, particularly those where negative outcomes have been reported. Looking at data can help ensure the facility reduces the occurrence of negative incidents. In addition, as a result of fewer alleged malpractice claims, professional liability premiums can be reduced.

Additionally, the nursing home will benefit from:

Improved marketability of a facility and public relations within the community
Gathering of accurate outcomes data
Improve reimbursement accuracy
Improved compliance with federal and state agencies.

By incorporating data into a risk management approach, nursing facilities gain the ability to benchmark, track, trend and continually monitor performance, which in turn helps to mitigate and manage risk and exposure and reduce the cost of professional liability insurance.