Are Your Home Healthcare Workers Underinsured?

Home healthcare workers are frequently subject to harmful health exposures and high injury risks. Making sure they have sufficient coverage is critical for your business. You may face significant financial losses if your home healthcare workers are uninsured or underinsured. Here’s what you need to know about the risks and liabilities associated with this line of business.

Top 9 Exposures for Home Healthcare Workers

Taking care of the sick or elderly at home involves complex and rigorous tasks, with a unique set of perils faced by the caregivers. The reason why according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, may be that home healthcare workers face a higher risk of workplace injury than caregivers in public or private healthcare facilities.

Here are the top 9 risks that your staff may be facing day to day in patients’ homes or while commuting to work, which may result in workers’ compensation claims:

  • Injuries involving slips, trips and falls- chances of which are aggravated by snow or ice.
  • Overexertion- due to factors like repetitive or sudden movements while catering to the patient’s needs.
  • Back injuries-potentially caused by overexertion.
  • Unhygienic conditions- in the form of a patient’s personal or environmental hygiene, lack of clean water or the presence of animal waste.
  • Automobile accidents – while traveling from one home or worksite to another; leading to transport-related risks, including auto accident injuries.
  • Needlestick injuries- needles used to extract infected blood or other bodily fluids carry the risk of transmitting infection.
  • Chemical hazards- including accidental contact with hazardous drugs or sterilizing solutions.
  • Violence- in the form of verbal abuse or physical attacks in the patient’s home or community.
  • Occupational stress -potentially caused by working overtime to meet the patient’s needs.

By getting your home healthcare business insured with adequate workers’ compensation coverage, you will be able to avoid expensive lawsuits and high costs associated with claims resulting from exposure to any of these risks.

In addition to a workers’ comp insurance coverage, you may also consider the following three insurance policies to enhance the protection of your home healthcare worker:

  1. Hired and Non-Owned Auto Insurance

Are your employees driving company-owned or their personal cars to work? If so, you may be liable for any third-party auto injuries resulting from accidents that your staff causes. Ensuring you have a hired or non-owned auto insurance policy may cover liabilities, including lawsuits resulting from such auto accidents.

  1. Commercial General Liability (CGL)

You can expand coverage for your vital home care workers by adding a CGL policy. The extra coverage shields your staff against incidences such as:

  • Bodily injury to a patient in their home
  • Damage to a patient’s property, such as breaking an expensive vase
  • Personal injury, such as when one of your home healthcare staff is sued for slander by their patient
  1. Professional Liability Insurance (also known as E&O Insurance)

This type of policy is essential for all professional service providers. Professional liability insurance offers numerous benefits, including coverage for negligence, bodily injury, personal injury (libel and slander), defense costs and property damage. However, it will not cover fraudulent acts that are willfullycommitted by your home healthcare worker.

Injury Prevention Tips for Home Caregivers 

Many of the risks that your home health employees face daily are preventable. By taking these steps to enhance your workers’ safety, you can minimize or even eliminate workers’ comp claims.

  • Conduct thorough pre-visit hazard assessments– These can help ascertain the patient’s behavior, location and safety of their homes, and the existence of potentially dangerous elements, such as weapons, aggressive pets, poor lighting, or snow buildup around the house.
  • Mitigate identified risks– Make sure to provide your staff with ergonomic equipment to reduce the risk of injury. Also, train them on proper patient and equipment handling, and limit travel distance to minimize transport-related risks.
  • Train your employees– Cover workplace safety topics such as hazard recognition and elimination. Be sure your staff knows about slip and fall prevention, how to detect stressors and reduce stress, safe driving, and recognizing violent behavior.
  • Communication– Have a standard set of communication protocols for employees in distress to request and get immediate help.

These are some of the insurance protection plans that your home healthcare business may need to operate smoothly. If you have any questions about managing risk or Workers’ Compensation solutions for your home healthcare workers, contact John Wildfire, PMC Healthcare Practice Leader today.

By PMC Insurance Group

Since 1996, PMC Insurance Group has worked to help independent agents grow their client base by offering workers' compensation solutions for a wide array of businesses. As one of the most distinguished workers' compensation wholesalers in the country, we have the tools and resources to help you create coverage programs for both small businesses and large accounts.