Navigating Risks in Aging Services: A Holistic Approach to Risks in Aging Services

What does effective risk management entail within the aging services framework? Undoubtedly, it extends far beyond addressing pressure injuries and falls, with new risks surfacing annually.

Managing risks in this demographic presents nuances distinct from those in acute care or ambulatory settings. Titles and responsibilities may vary for those managing risk – ranging from administrators to facility directors, directors of nursing, or chief financial officers. Despite these differences, the four-step risk management process remains consistent:

  1. Identify the risk
  2. Assess the frequency and severity of the risk
  3. Reduce or eliminate the risk
  4. Evaluate costs saved by mitigating the risk

Irrespective of the individual’s role or title, the overarching objective remains constant: safeguarding residents and staff from harm while minimizing financial losses for the organization.

Vulnerability Assessments

A critical element of any risk program is identification. Having a comprehensive tool is essential for proper recognition of various areas of vulnerability. There are myriad hazard vulnerability tools (HVA) available for use and adaptation. A good resource is the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Care of LGBTQ+ Aging Adults

The United States is experiencing population growth and increased diversity, with over 3 million LGBTQ+ adults aged 50 and above, expected to reach 7 million by 2030. As this demographic ages, there is a growing need for post-acute and long-term care (PALTC). This presents an opportunity for PALTC providers to address health disparities within the LGBTQ+ community. The Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI) offers a framework for providers to enhance LGBTQ+ inclusivity, covering criteria such as non-discrimination and staff training, resident services, employee benefits, and community engagement. Providers are encouraged to take the Commitment to Caring Pledge and utilize resources provided by the LEI to create more inclusive environments.

Dietary Restrictions

The recurrent challenge of residents and families not adhering to dietary restrictions necessitates careful consideration. Balancing resident rights, optimal nutrition, and clinical diet orders is complex. While our focus often centers on adherence and liability, it’s crucial to also acknowledge the familial, cultural, and ethical aspects of eating.

To navigate issues of non-compliance, broadening our perspective beyond clinical and legal aspects is key. By incorporating familial, cultural, and ethical dimensions into dietary management, we can develop more holistic, patient-centered approaches that respect residents’ rights and preferences while maintaining a commitment to their well-being.

Reach out to an Advisor Today

Would you like to learn more about how the risk function fits into in your organization? Our risk professionals are available to assist with education and mentoring. Please contact us if you need support developing the risk role or your program.