Hospitals & Nursing Homes

Workers’ Compensation in the Hospital & Nursing Home Industries

Workers compensation coverage for nursing homes is available from insurance carriers who specialize in the medical and health fields. The cost of coverage is normally very close to the median cost of work comp coverage for all industries.

  • Nursing homes can be found in every state.
  • Many are privately owned and managed, but regional and national nursing home companies are gradually increasing their share of the market.
  • The work force of the nursing home will consist of:
    • Registered nurses (RN)
    • Licensed practical nurses (LPN)
    • Nurses’ aides
    • Administrative staff
    • Food service
    • Housekeeping
  • The primary workforce issue is often the training and turn-over among the nurses’ aides.

Safety is normally emphasized in nursing homes to protect both the patients and the staff.

  • Nursing homes are built to protect the patients and staff which tends to lower the risk of injury.
  • Physical hazards and causes of injury to nursing home employees include:
    • Lifting and moving of patients, the most common cause of work-related injury
    • Musculoskeletal injuries
    • Needle sticks are also a concern

Medical care for work comp injuries is readily available because most states require a nurse to be on duty at all times.

  • Minor work related injuries including cuts, bruises and abrasions can be treated by the on-staff nurse or by other nurses on duty.
  • For more severe injuries, medical facilities are often located nearby.

The cost of indemnity benefits for work comp injuries at nursing homes average approximately the same as work comp benefits for all industries. Occupational diseases and associated disability benefits occur infrequently among nursing home employees.

Some categories related to nursing homes that would have the same or similar work comp issues include:

  • Hospitals including acute care hospitals
  • Home health services
  • Retirement centers
  • Boarding homes
  • Assisted living facilities

Transitional / Modified Duties in the Hospital and Nursing Home Industries

While many of the jobs in this industry require the ability to lift patients (heavy lifting), accommodation may be possible. Equipment such as mechanical lifts and friction reducing devices decrease both the frequency and severity of injury and make temporary accommodation easier to accomplish.

If there is an applicable Union Contract, be sure to review the terms to verify modified duty is not prohibited or restricted. Possible temporary transitional work includes:

Office Workers: Accommodation to sit/stand as needed or to elevate a broken leg for example should be possible. Lifting beyond physician assigned abilities could be done by another employee.
RN, LPN & Nurses’ Aides: Utilize other employees to do the “heavy” lifting of patients or equipment. Provide equipment to make patient transport non-strenuous.
Food Service: Identify tasks within the cafeteria or snack bar within physician assigned abilities such as light cleaning or working the cash register.
All Employees: Consider placement at an Information Booth to help visitors with directions or assistance.
Light Janitorial : Employees can use a broom and long handle dust pan to clean up spills and litter.


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