The aging process may slow us down a bit, but it doesn’t stop our desire or our need to remain a part of our communities and the world around us. Aging adults still enjoy shopping, need to attend appointments, and travel to various attractions and activities away from their senior living or skilled nursing facility. In 2010, the CDC conducted a National Survey of Residential Care Facilities and found that only 4% of residents continued to drive. With so many residents being unable to drive themselves where they want to go, transportation services provided by the resident’s care facility is important, especially for the resident’s quality of life.
Residents requiring emergent medical attention should be transferred via ambulance service. Operators of ambulance services (EMS) must follow strict guidelines to maintain the safety of residents during transfer to medical providers. These requirements are outlined in a publication provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s guide for interfacility patient transfer. Thorough assessment of your EMS provider’s liability insurance certificates and ensuring their compliance with the regulations governing their operations is crucial to ensuring the safety of your residents during transport.
Many communities provide their residents with non-emergent transportation services using their own vehicles and employees. In doing so, these communities assume a number of risks while providing this valuable service to their residents. State and Federal standards require certain practices and policies to be adhered to in order to provide this service in a safe manner. For example, transport vehicles must be equipped with lifesaving equipment and communication devices and requires specific staffing of the vehicle. Not complying with these requirements can result in citations and fines.
In addition to compliance concerns, the community must be aware of the liability exposures they face while providing transportation services. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure the following:
- Each employee who will be operating the transport vehicle is properly trained and has undergone a thorough motor vehicle record review by the community’s auto insurance carrier
- Other staff who will be present during the transport must be trained in wheelchair transportation, CPR, and be able to assist those with special needs
- The vehicle itself must also be regularly and meticulously inspected and maintained
- The vehicle must be ADA-compliant, able to accommodate wheelchairs, registered and adequately insured
To ensure your community’s transportation services are properly insured and meet with applicable state and federal requirements, please contact the AssuredPartners Senior Living team.