Liability Risks In Home Healthcare: The Crucial Role Of Insurance For Your Business

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Globally, the population aged over 60 is growing quickly and will reach 2 billion by 2050, according to the WHO. We are shifting to an increasing norm for aging patients to receive treatment in their own home, rather than hospitals, hospices, or care homes, but this poses risks both to the patient and their home caregivers.

Home healthcare businesses should incorporate risk management services to protect themselves, should anything occur to one of their clients. The unfortunate reality is that accidents and unfortunate events do happen, especially when dealing with older, more frail members of the community.

Below are some of the more prevalent home health risks and how to mitigate them, as we explore why comprehensive insurance is essential for your home healthcare business.

Understand the risks for home healthcare professionals

Home healthcare workers should be especially cognizant of the risks posed by working in private residences, as opposed to healthcare facilities. Becoming familiar with safe practices and understanding risks will enhance care while decreasing injuries to patients or employees, as well as helping avoid expensive insurance claims.

It is important to be aware of the challenges that can arise; here are some common patient risk factors.


Falls are one of the leading causes of injury for older adults, and can cause serious injury. A home healthcare professional may be deemed responsible for a fall if they have not been seen to take adequate precautions to reduce the risk of falls, trips and slips whilst with the patient, or even after they have left them if the fall occurred in their home.


Professional negligence can take many forms. It could involve mistakes with medication administration, or not providing appropriate or adequate care to a patient whose needs were not fulfilled. The duty of a home healthcare professional is to provide healthcare assistance, so if the patient ends up becoming more sick, or there is a medical accident, this may lead to a claim of professional negligence against them.

Lack of training

Home healthcare providers must be fully licensed before providing care; otherwise they could face liability for any mistakes. All staff must undergo proper training and certification and should have opportunities for professional growth and ongoing education, so they can stay abreast of current regulations and best practices.

Infection control

Medication-associated infections can have devastating repercussions for both patients and staff members. Hand hygiene, personal protective gear, cleaning procedures and the proper disposal of sharps all play key roles in an infection control strategy.

Technology and data breaches

Home health professionals store patient data using laptops or computer systems. Emerging public health technologies will play a pivotal role in healthcare delivery in the near future, such as using dedicated patient care applications, and employee competency verification. Hacking, theft or employee error could lead to significant data breaches.

Reputational risk

Since the home environment is not monitored, there is the risk of employee theft, or simply the accusation of theft, whether it is grounded or not. When working with vulnerable individuals, home healthcare professionals are in a position of power that has the potential to be abused.

Prepare for common home healthcare claims with a risk management plan

All these risks are potential grounds for lawsuits or liability claims. Healthcare risk management has become essential as the industry faces rapid disruption caused by advancements in medical technologies and increasing patient data protection regulations. A robust risk management plan, shared with all employees, can help reduce the risk of a lawsuit or liability claim.

1. Assess potential liability risks

Healthcare organizations face unique challenges in risk management due to its ever-evolving nature and the inherent uncertainty it entails. Identification of all possible risks within your organization’s system is the first step toward creating a healthcare-risk management system. By doing so, you can establish risk tolerance while getting an idea of your industry’s key vulnerabilities.

2. Obtain robust insurance for your business

Home health provider insurance policies serve as the cornerstone of risk control in this industry, covering both employees and agencies. In the unpleasant event of a lawsuit or liability claim, due to professional negligence, accusation of theft, cybercrime or other complication , you and your employees will be better protected to cover the costs of defending yourself, and the reputation of your business.

3. Analyze the severity of the risks identified

After identifying risks, it is essential to rank, score and prioritize them according to their likelihood and impact. Heat maps or risk matrices are useful ways of visually representing these threats so as to facilitate effective resource allocation. For example, this may affect your insurance budget, or what policies you deem to be essential or desirable under your cover.

3. Ensure adequate cyber-security

It’s essential to protect your patients’ data, both from your friends and family, and from malicious cyber attacks. Best practice may suggest storing this personal data on a separate work laptop requiring password verification, and ensuring adequate cyber-security for your business, to prevent hackers from accessing it. If data is breached, there should be a back-up accessible so that the quality of patient care is not compromised.

4. Adhere to present industry standards

Healthcare is an industry with inherent risk, making revision and update of old policies and processes essential. By adhering to the current industry standards, you’ll save lives while enhancing care delivery. Home healthcare providers can protect themselves from potential negligence claims by following the protocols and procedures established by their organization, in line with federal and local laws. The guidelines should be regularly revised to accommodate for changes to laws or new best practices.

5. Provide adequate staff training

Establishing and adhering to a stringent policy via extensive staff training is one of the most effective ways to minimize liability risks. Transparency practices such as monitoring spending money when shopping for patients or collecting medication from pharmacists is vital to keeping staff accountable and safeguarding against theft or damaged reputation.

Staying safe

Understanding the legal and liability issues involved with in-home care services is of utmost importance, along with clear communication between your patients and their family members.

Healthcare risk management plans that include comprehensive insurance cover should be developed for all potential risks, both present and in the future, to foster a culture of safety. It is best to be prepared for unexpected events, including changes to treatment plans and medical accidents, to avoid further harm and strengthen trust between employer and employees while potentially decreasing claims against liability.

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