As the owner of a home healthcare aide agency, you take meticulous care to provide only the most competent assistance to your clients by ensuring that the aides you assign are qualified, experienced, and skilled in dealing with the patient’s condition. In fact, you hire only the best, via a process of stringent checks and cross-checks to verify that the home health aide you are hiring has the requisite credentials and qualities to give the best care to patients they may be assigned to. Those pursuing a career in this line are also fully aware of how important their reputation is and how big a role it plays in garnering success for them here. You may further have your aides undergo a period of training or working under supervision to gauge their competence and assign them to patients only when you are fully satisfied with their performance. However, there is still a possibility that a client may file a legal claim against your aide and by extension, against your home healthcare agency.
A client making false claims against a home healthcare aide is not unheard of, and there have been plenty of cases where the claim has been proven baseless in court. However, the long-winded legal process does leave its impact on the agency, in terms of the business’ credibility and finance. Ideally, you would want to avoid a situation where such a legal claim may be leveled against you, and to equip yourself for this, it helps if you know what some of the common reasons are for lawsuits to be filed by clients.
Inadequate or improper care:
The client may, for example, claim that your aide did not give the patient the right medications or the right dosage. They may accuse the aide of not paying attention to the patient’s vitals closely enough or managing them in the right way.
Improper use of equipment:
In cases where the patient is on oxygen or they are in a wheelchair or some other equipment is being used in their care, the client may accuse the aide of not ensuring that the equipment is used in the right way. The aide may be blamed for damage to the equipment or harm caused to the patient owing to improper use of the equipment.
The client may accuse you of billing for more hours than the aide worked. While this is not an issue related to medical care, it is still a liability for your business. If you do not have a proper record of working hours and a sound system for tracking them, this can be a big problem for you.
Patient abandonment is not just an accusation that physicians can face; clients may accuse HHAs of abandonment too if the aide leaves mid-contract owing to any reason, without the patient having found a substitute. Remember that the aide may have a very valid reason for quitting, but the client may still file a lawsuit that you will need to challenge and prove baseless.
How to protect your business?
The risk of lawsuits is inherent in this field and lawsuits are a fairly common occurrence too. As a home health care aide, you need to be aware that certain situations, certain acts can put you in a vulnerable position legally. Your aides need to be educated about such risks too so that they steer clear of situations that can lead to trouble. But, apart from being informed about these, there is another important step to take to protect yourself and your agency against such claims- choosing an effective liability insurance plan covering all your bases.
For those who are yet to set up their HHA business and are just laying the groundwork by learning more about this field of work, this step-by-step guide is a good beginning that also gives you a quick look into how to insure yourself against legal claims.
There are many situations that can put you or your HHA agency at risk of a lawsuit. Being aware of them enables you to avoid them and thus head off such problems before they arise. However, it is equally important to have a backup plan in place in the event you do face legal action, and this backup plan is your liability insurance!