Elder abuse is a major problem, and senior care facilities must protect both residents and operators.

 

Senior care providers operating assisted living, skilled nursing, dementia care or independent living facilities, as well as home health care services, have a tremendous responsibility. These professionals are tasked with offering help and comfort to people at the most vulnerable point in their lives. Preventing elder abuse is among the most important obligations of a senior care facility.

“Elder abuse has major legal and financial consequences.”

Facilities strive to prevent any incidents of abuse through strict screening, training and supervision of staff, but severe problems may still arise. Further, any accusation of elder abuse can have major legal and financial consequences for senior care providers. It’s vital to understand the risks of abuse and how senior care facility insurance can protect the facility from major losses.

The risks of elder abuse

Abuse comes in many forms, and that’s one reason why it presents such a challenge to any care facility. The National Institutes of Health cite several different types of elder abuse that might be committed by a caregiver:

  • Physical abuse involves violent acts like shoving or hitting the older person.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse may occur if a care provider issues threats, uses language to cause emotional pain, prevents visits with loved ones or habitually ignores the senior.
  • Neglect takes place when caregiver fails to tend to the older person’s needs.
  • Sexual abuse includes compelling the senior to see or participate in sexual acts.
  • Abandonment is leaving the older person alone and uncared for.
  • Financial abuse occurs when the caregiver takes the senior’s money or property.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, cases of elder abuse number in the hundreds of thousands annually, though many of these crimes are left unreported. Senior care providers need a strong awareness of how their state defines different kinds of abuse, what reporting requirements doctors or staff must obey and any signs that a senior is being mistreated. Some of these indications include:

  • Physical marks, like bruises or broken bones.
  • Depression or changes in normal activities.
  • Financial insecurity.
  • Poorly managed medical needs or hygiene.

The operators and staff at senior care facilities must be alert to these signs and any other clues that an older person is being mistreated. The well-being of residents or patients should always be the top priority, and failure to catch a problem early may lead to serious allegations. Even if a court finds the organization has not been abusive or neglectful, a court case means significant losses of money and the possibility of further costs from damage to the facility’s reputation.

Senior care insurance can protect facilities accused of neglect.Senior care insurance can protect facilities accused of neglect.

Taking steps to protect a senior care facility

With the high incidence of elder abuse and the grave responsibilities of the facilities caring for older people, senior care insurance is an essential safeguard. If senior care providers are accused of abuse, this insurance can prevent potentially destructive financial losses. These policies protect the business against primary medical and general liability and may also cover specific claims like sexual abuse.

To acquire senior care insurance, a facility will need to submit relevant information like:

  • Copies of on-site surveys from state inspections, including all reported deficiencies, complaint surveys and corrective action plans.
  • Census forms.
  • Information about background of administrators.
  • Wound care protocols.
  • Quality indicators from administrative data.

Obtaining this kind of security is a worthwhile investment for any business that provides care for older people. McGowan Program Administrators has years of experience in offering senior care insurance and the “Power of the Pen” to underwrite these policies. McGowan puts a coverage plan into action to address your facility’s specific needs, starting with primary medical and general liability limits up to $2MM/$4MM and excess limits up to $10MM.
Emerging Threats in Senior Care - White Paper