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How can Fall Reduction Reduce Professional Liability Insurance Costs Within Assisted Living?

By Marty Butler

Within the assisted living sector, resident falls remain to be the leading liability loss driver. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one in five falls causes a serious injury. The fear of falling can also negatively affect a resident’s quality of life and keep them from thriving and being active. It’s no secret that falls pose a substantial financial burden on the healthcare system and when they occur within an assisted living community have a direct negative impact on liability loss history. Fall reduction strategies and efforts will result in not only healthier residents, but a healthier bottom line as well.

According to the CNA Aging Services Report from 2018, the data indicates fall-related events make up more than 49% of overall claims. An astonishing conclusion from the Report shows that the average fall-related claim cost in assisted living is $224,300 compared to $187,774 in the skilled nursing setting. This is an area of opportunity when considering global costs and budgets within assisted living. If communities can reduce liability, there is a direct link to an overall decrease in liability claim and insurance premium costs over time.

Historically, substantial fall management programming has been primarily found in the skilled nursing setting. By bringing this focus to the assisted living setting, communities can have a positive impact on internal and external customer service and provide quality resident care. Improved customer service and a culture of resident safety will lead to positive impacts on census, marketing, and industry reputation.

Although there are many efforts that should be employed to reduce falls within the assisted living setting, here are five impactful tips to get started:

  1. Be Proactive. Whenever possible, create a trusting and open relationship with residents’ family members starting before admission.
  2. Educate. Instruct the residents and family members to reduce clutter in the room. Train all staff on proper reporting procedures and how they might be able to assist residents to achieve this goal (include all departments).
  3. Safety. Encourage safe footwear, including shoes and slippers. Start this messaging before admission with the resident and family members.
  4. Communicate. Encourage family members to call for assistance when helping the resident to the bathroom.
  5. Prevention. Educate residents and family members on low blood pressure precautions.

Current assisted living clients that have implemented and utilized these guidelines have experienced significant decreases in resident falls and fall-related claims. This has resulted in fall reduction and mitigation, positively affecting their total cost of risk and insurance carrier risk profile.

About the Author: Marty Butler is Senior Vice President, Practice Leader for Assurance’s Senior Living division. Utilizing over 25 years of insurance experience, Marty has developed strong, personalized relationships with Assurance’s clients often times acting as an advisor in important business decisions that can affect bottom line or insurance needs.