Risks Hospice Employees Face & How to Reduce Them

Hospice care providers offer families of individuals with terminal illnesses an invaluable service and many families have turned to this care option over the past 20 years. However, as with any vocation in the medical field, hospice employees face a number of on-the-job risks.

On-the-job risks hospice employees face can be broken down into several categories, which include biological hazards, chemical hazards, physical hazards, and psychological hazards. Below is a brief look at some of the risks by category, as well as ways to minimize the risks.

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Biological risks hospice employees face include exposure to blood borne pathogens and infectious diseases. In many cases, exposure to biological risks are a result of needle stick injuries, coming into contact with a patient’s family member that has a contagious virus, or the employee’s failure to properly wash their hands after caring for the patient. To reduce these risks, only use needles when necessary and dispose of them properly, and make sure to use good hygiene at all times and avoid contact with those who may have a contagious illness.

Chemical hazards can include exposure to certain drugs, as well as chemicals used for cleaning and sterilization. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals, employees should be properly trained on how to administer or use the chemical agent. This should include using protective face masks to avoid chemicals coming into contact with the eyes and respiratory system, which are often irritated by the fumes released by chemical agents.

The most common physical risk to healthcare providers like hospice employees are back injuries received while lifting or moving a patient. However, other physical risks include strained muscles and overexertion. Employees should be trained to use ergonomic approaches to transfer or provide aid to patients to prevent injury or use assistive devices, such as a lift or hoist, to support and balance patients when necessary.

Psychological hazards range from verbal and physical abuse to occupational stress caused by factors such as work overload, lack of support, or issues with co-workers, among others. As the CDC once shared, home healthcare providers like hospice employees often face more occupational stress than others due to the nature of their work. In order to reduce psychological risks like these, employees should be trained to recognize risks and implement an acceptable intervention for situations of violence or abuse. In the case of occupational stress, employers should provide employees the chance to discuss concerns openly and provide counseling support as needed.

Of course, hospice organizations should also minimize risk by having a strong insurance plan in place. Hospice organizations in need of insurance coverage can contact Lamb Financial Group to speak with a representative about your needs.

Managing Risks at an After-School Program

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According to several studies on school-aged children, the most vulnerable time for them to engage in criminal activities or experimentation with drugs, alcohol and other risky behaviors is in the hours after school, before their parents get home from work. Quality after-school programs can provide the supervision and learning opportunities to prevent children from making poor choices. These programs can also encourage them to attain better grades and develop beneficial social behaviors. While after-school programs are making great strides in helping children, they are not without some risks.

An important component of quality after-school care is the ability for kids to socialize and participate in supervised activities like sports. It is critical to ensure that playground equipment and any sports gear is properly maintained and checked frequently for possible safety hazards. The key is to provide a safe area for children to play in.

Additionally, with quality supervision being at the forefront of a successful after-school program, vetting employees and performing in-depth background checks is essential. You do not wish the hard work of your organization to be thwarted by the discovery of an employee that has been convicted of a crime against children, especially when trying to provide a service to protect children from adverse conditions.

Once you are certain you have hired the right employees for your organization, part of your risk management plan should include proper training, so they understand their position as role models. Understanding negligence and the importance of being a strong supervisor is essential for the well-being of not only the children, but to the reputation and financial stability of your organization as well. Employees should also be trained in and keep current certifications in CPR and first aid, so they are prepared to respond in the event of a medical emergency.

Lamb Financial Group believes strongly in after-school programs that benefit all children in our country. Our nonprofit risk management services are designed to ensure your organization has the best protection in place to minimize exposure to risks, including comprehensive background checks, risk management plans and insurance coverage. Please call us at 866-481-5262, or contact us to learn how we can help protect your organization.

Employee Dishonesty: What are the Risks & is it Covered by Insurance?

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As a nonprofit or social service organization, any financial loss can be detrimental to your cause and hinder progress. It can be particularly difficult when the loss is due to employee dishonesty, since the money would likely be spent before it can be recovered. Unless your organization has specific coverage, employee dishonesty is not insured. A typical commercial insurance policy may cover litigation costs but not the actual monetary loss.

Despite careful screening, a dishonest employee may be inadvertently hired and your nonprofit or social service agency could be vulnerable to theft. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios. Your business accepts cash for transactions, and a dishonest employee takes money from the cash drawer or falsifies a transaction to make a profit. Another possible scenario could be if an employee offers discounts on merchandise to his or her friends, significantly harming your bottom line.

Unless your current policy specifically states coverage for crime-related losses, you will need to purchase another policy to supplement your commercial insurance. To protect your organization from losses due to employee theft, you can obtain a Fidelity Bond, also known as an “Employee Dishonesty Bond.” A Fidelity Bond protects your organization against theft and acts of fraud or forgery committed by a person employed by your organization. This includes check forgery, computer fraud and credit card fraud. Since the coverage is specifically a crime protection insurance, employees with a felony conviction will not likely be covered under a Fidelity policy.

Lamb Financial Group is an insurance broker that specializes in nonprofit risk management services. We invite you to call us at 866-481-5262 or use the form on our website to contact us for additional information or with any questions regarding insurance for nonprofits and social services. If you would like a quote, please fill out our online form and we will be happy to provide one.