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Nursing Home Risk Management: The Right Thing vs. the Defensible Action

Nursing Home Risk Management The Right Thing vs. the Defensible ActionNursing Home Risk Management: The Right Thing vs. the Defensible Action

Rumors and heated debate have been swirling around the death of a resident in an independent senior living center. In a tragic case earlier this month, a woman collapsed and needed immediate medical attention. The nurse on duty called 911, but refused to perform CPR. When the dispatcher asked her why she refused to preform CPR, she stated that it was against company policy. The woman was later declared dead at the hospital.

In the aftermath of the tragic incident, debate has raged ferociously whether or not the nurse should have performed CPR despite the company’s policy. Hearing the 911 dispatcher argue with the woman, trying to convince her to perform CPR, only incited the debate further.

It’s not a simple right or wrong, black and white situation, but rather a tragic series of situational complications. There were several accounts of the incident across hundreds of news sources. There were rumors that the woman had a DNR, or “Do Not Resuscitate” While other rumors said there was no DNR. The woman has been described as a patient. Some accounts said she was at a nursing home. None of those facts are true.

Others wonder why she didn’t just perform CPR under the protection of the Good Samaritan law, which protects people who give CPR in emergencies. The nurse has received a lot of media flak for it. But the building was an Independent Senior Living Facility. Independent Living facilities, such as this one, specifically implement an emergency policy of calling 911 to manage expectations and avoid providing a level of care they are not licensed to do. According to company policy, the nurse was not allowed to perform CPR. There are serious liability concerns when a business or employee provides medical care they are unlicensed to do.  However, while the employee was a nurse, she was not hired in her capacity as a nurse but was instead employed as an activities director.  The difficulty follows in part because the policy didn’t contemplate the fact that a medically qualified individual could be employed in a non-medical capacity.

The issue becomes a conflict between doing the right thing and doing the defensible thing. The senior living community stood by the nurse, releasing a statement that she did adhere to their policy.

It was a tricky, time sensitive balance of weighing established company policy and performing CPR for the woman. The sad turn of events has raised a heated debate about liabilities senior living facilities face when taking on the care of adults, and a larger discussion of what can be done to prevent further situations.

This is a real sad story. One that possibly demonstrates what can happen when regulatory policy, facility policy, or insurance policies override human compassion and responsibility. This highlights the need for a values based approach to risk management where you try to do the right thing vs. the defensible thing.  K&B Underwriters has a hotline to address these types of situations. In case of an emergency, clients can call and we can help them decide the best possible course of action. In this case, K&B would have most likely encouraged the nurse to initiate CPR as the risk of doing nothing outweighs the risk of doing the wrong thing, both for her personally and for the facility.  In other words, it’s better to get sued for trying to help but overstepping jurisdiction, than to get sued for the death of a person you could have helped and didn’t.  However, hindsight is 20/20 and the real lesson is that this is a call for people everywhere to anchor themselves to the highest standard and be clear what that standard is so that when real or perceived personnel/policy conflicts present themselves, they have contemplated their response.

In managing senior living centers, risk management is crucial. The goal at K&B Underwriters is to focus helping senior living centers to develop a risk management strategy that focuses on doing the right and humane thing even in a difficult situation. Services are designed to improve resident safety and reduce liability risk. We take a consultative approach with clients, rather than a compliance based state survey.

Contact us today for more information about our nursing home risk management programs, (855) 883-6306.

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Kbunderwriters
  • "K&B has a model that backs up their binders with services that help providers care for residents. They understand the business, including the challenge of reimbursement reductions enabling them to engage best-in-class service providers… This level of knowledge and responsiveness really helps agents ‘brand’ themselves.... "

    Erik Halvorsen
    Peachtree Special Risk Brokers

  • "Thank you K&B for your DigniCARE product. Our firm works with a variety of senior living facilities and we consider the DigniCARE Program to be one of the best in the industry. Your team delivers professional and friendly service to your policyholders and your agency partners. You are a rock... "

    Pam Muzzilla
    McGowan Private Client Group

  • "The staff at K&B understood everything. In fact, I almost felt that they knew what I needed before I asked. K&B got things accomplished in such a short time frame! We sent a new submission on a large account and got quotes back in less than 8 days! I wouldn’t... "

    Vickie Fortner
    Bowersox Insurance Agency

  • "I could have gone to the same carrier through a different broker, but I liked the staff at K&B and liked working with them. K&B wanted the business, were aggressive, and turned it around very quickly. I am very pleased with the work... "

    Robin Walker
    Expert Underwriters, Inc

  • "We rely on the experience of K&B that we may not get by going straight to the company. I believe this relationship is an important and necessary one in dealing with the insurance underwriters. Actually, K&B was the only brokerage we went through. It was all or nothing! Our deadlines... "

    Barry Layman
    The Colony Group, CIC

  • "The staff at K&B was instrumental in helping me! I had a policy that needed to be written at the 11th hour and with your staff at K&B, we wrote the policy. We have other policies coming up in the future and K&B is the trustworthy choice for us.... "

    Mark Kuhr
    Talbot/Hub Agency

  • "It’s the staff at K&B that I want to work with – you’re the ones who know what you’re doing!! K&B is straightforward in working with me and can tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my questions right away, which is great and what I need! The flow with K&B... "

    Mike Kram
    MD Kram Insurance Brokerage

  • "Your staff is persistent. Since I’m persistent too, I like that! K&B’s service is great because of the small things. A big thing we contend with is having an underwriter simply pick up the phone to take a call from us. Your staff will do that and it means a... "

    Sean Crayton
    Nixon & Lindstrom Insurance

 
Kbunderwriters
Kbunderwriters
  • "K&B has a model that backs up their binders with services that help providers care for residents. They understand the business, including the challenge of reimbursement reductions enabling them to engage best-in-class service providers… This level of knowledge and responsiveness really helps agents ‘brand’ themselves.... "

    Erik Halvorsen
    Peachtree Special Risk Brokers

  • "Thank you K&B for your DigniCARE product. Our firm works with a variety of senior living facilities and we consider the DigniCARE Program to be one of the best in the industry. Your team delivers professional and friendly service to your policyholders and your agency partners. You are a rock... "

    Pam Muzzilla
    McGowan Private Client Group

  • "The staff at K&B understood everything. In fact, I almost felt that they knew what I needed before I asked. K&B got things accomplished in such a short time frame! We sent a new submission on a large account and got quotes back in less than 8 days! I wouldn’t... "

    Vickie Fortner
    Bowersox Insurance Agency

  • "I could have gone to the same carrier through a different broker, but I liked the staff at K&B and liked working with them. K&B wanted the business, were aggressive, and turned it around very quickly. I am very pleased with the work... "

    Robin Walker
    Expert Underwriters, Inc

  • "We rely on the experience of K&B that we may not get by going straight to the company. I believe this relationship is an important and necessary one in dealing with the insurance underwriters. Actually, K&B was the only brokerage we went through. It was all or nothing! Our deadlines... "

    Barry Layman
    The Colony Group, CIC

  • "The staff at K&B was instrumental in helping me! I had a policy that needed to be written at the 11th hour and with your staff at K&B, we wrote the policy. We have other policies coming up in the future and K&B is the trustworthy choice for us.... "

    Mark Kuhr
    Talbot/Hub Agency

  • "It’s the staff at K&B that I want to work with – you’re the ones who know what you’re doing!! K&B is straightforward in working with me and can tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my questions right away, which is great and what I need! The flow with K&B... "

    Mike Kram
    MD Kram Insurance Brokerage

  • "Your staff is persistent. Since I’m persistent too, I like that! K&B’s service is great because of the small things. A big thing we contend with is having an underwriter simply pick up the phone to take a call from us. Your staff will do that and it means a... "

    Sean Crayton
    Nixon & Lindstrom Insurance

 
Kbunderwriters
Kbunderwriters
  • "K&B has a model that backs up their binders with services that help providers care for residents. They understand the business, including the challenge of reimbursement reductions enabling them to engage best-in-class service providers… This level of knowledge and responsiveness really helps agents ‘brand’ themselves.... "

    Erik Halvorsen
    Peachtree Special Risk Brokers

  • "Thank you K&B for your DigniCARE product. Our firm works with a variety of senior living facilities and we consider the DigniCARE Program to be one of the best in the industry. Your team delivers professional and friendly service to your policyholders and your agency partners. You are a rock... "

    Pam Muzzilla
    McGowan Private Client Group

  • "The staff at K&B understood everything. In fact, I almost felt that they knew what I needed before I asked. K&B got things accomplished in such a short time frame! We sent a new submission on a large account and got quotes back in less than 8 days! I wouldn’t... "

    Vickie Fortner
    Bowersox Insurance Agency

  • "I could have gone to the same carrier through a different broker, but I liked the staff at K&B and liked working with them. K&B wanted the business, were aggressive, and turned it around very quickly. I am very pleased with the work... "

    Robin Walker
    Expert Underwriters, Inc

  • "We rely on the experience of K&B that we may not get by going straight to the company. I believe this relationship is an important and necessary one in dealing with the insurance underwriters. Actually, K&B was the only brokerage we went through. It was all or nothing! Our deadlines... "

    Barry Layman
    The Colony Group, CIC

  • "The staff at K&B was instrumental in helping me! I had a policy that needed to be written at the 11th hour and with your staff at K&B, we wrote the policy. We have other policies coming up in the future and K&B is the trustworthy choice for us.... "

    Mark Kuhr
    Talbot/Hub Agency

  • "It’s the staff at K&B that I want to work with – you’re the ones who know what you’re doing!! K&B is straightforward in working with me and can tell me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my questions right away, which is great and what I need! The flow with K&B... "

    Mike Kram
    MD Kram Insurance Brokerage

  • "Your staff is persistent. Since I’m persistent too, I like that! K&B’s service is great because of the small things. A big thing we contend with is having an underwriter simply pick up the phone to take a call from us. Your staff will do that and it means a... "

    Sean Crayton
    Nixon & Lindstrom Insurance