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By Steve Groth, CSP, ARM & Cedric Donaldson, DPT, CLCS

How many claims are possible when an employee transfers a patient or resident? The answer is two: both professional liability and workers’ compensation claims can occur simultaneously. What if the individual is an assistant of two? Then there is potential for three claims as the workers’ compensation exposure doubles!

Healthcare and senior living providers are much different from a manufacturer or distributor. People are not inanimate objects like boxes; therefore, the process of determining transfer and mobility needs can be challenging.

In addition, consistency across multiple locations and therapists can vary if standardized processes are not in place. Providers who establish simple, consistent processes often see a reduction in falls, skin tears, bruising, and employee musculoskeletal disorders.

INSURICA’s Approach

  1. Help clients perform a gap analysis of current processes.
  2. Provide guidance and best practices that have worked in similar care environments.
  3. Assist the client in developing their own standardized processes that are feasible for their unique environment.

We recommend simple, objective criteria to be incorporated into the assessment process. Our goal of protecting people also supports other goals such as promoting independence, quality of life, and dignity. Here are two examples:

Fall Risks

The 30-second chair-stand assessment is one possible tool to use to identify potential fall risks related to patient transfers.

See the following resource from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/pdf/STEADI-Assessment-30Sec-508.pdf

Gait Belt/Pivot Transfers

Patients and residents must have a minimum level of strength, mobility, and independence in order for these patient transfers to be done safely. Sample criteria include:

  • Able to sit unassisted.
  • Can take three steps forward and three steps back.
  • Bears weight throughout the entire transfer (four or more seconds).

Insurance is just the transfer of risk for a premium; therefore, to pay less insurance, we need to transfer less risk. INSURICA will highlight these best practices as we write your client profile and advocate for you in the insurance marketplace.

About the Authors

Steve Groth, CSP, ARM – 12 years implementing safe patient/resident handling and mobility programs; 4 years in commercial underwriting for healthcare and senior living clients

Cedric Donaldson, DPT, CLCS – 13 years as a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in a variety of settings: long-term care, post-acute care, home healthcare, and hospice.

This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. 

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