Report: Resident falls top reason for lawsuits risks

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Falls were the No. 1 subject of provider lawsuits across all settings of senior care.
Falls were the No. 1 subject of provider lawsuits across all settings of senior care.

Falls accounted for a slightly lower proportion of closed professional liability claims that insurer CNA most recently studied, but they still were far and away the top threat to providers' legal well-being, researchers said.

Resident falls accounted for 41.5% of closed professional liability claims against the company's insured non-profit skilled nursing facilities in the 2012-2013 time frame, a new CNA report notes. That's down from nearly 44% for the span from 2007 to 2011.

Pressure ulcers were No. 2 on the 2012-2013 list at 17.5% of closed claims.

By comparison, the proportion of fall-related claims rose in for-profit skilled nursing facilities — but only to 38.7% (up from 37%). Pressure ulcers were also No. 2 on the for-profits list.

Assisted living providers and continuing care retirement community operators also had falls as the top reason for claims.

“While zero falls may not be an achievable goal, decreasing resident falls and mitigating the severity of fall-related injuries remain essential to quality improvement and risk management,” report authors wrote.

Falls from a bed were associated with nearly one-third of all fall claims (32.4%); second was falls in a bathroom (18%). 

The report shows that “failure to monitor” was associated with nearly 46% of fall-related allegations going back to 2007, suggesting that more robust resident monitoring could be in the offing. 

The next most common associated reasons were improper care, unsafe environment and “all other” causes.

Under the concluding section of “Issues that should be on your radar,” the insurer listed six top areas: readmissions to acute care; Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement (QAPI); car accidents; E-discovery; arbitration agreements; and security and workplace violence. 


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