Providing care for a disabled woman without getting sued please!
February 28, 2013 11:32 PM Subscribe
I have the opportunity to work a 4-month part-time (approx. 26h/week) contract providing in-home support for a woman who is in the early stages of Parkinson's disease, starting next Friday. I have provided intimate care like this for a family member before, but have no professional experience otherwise in this field. What should I keep in mind in terms of covering my ass with respect to liability in the contract?
posted by human ecologist to work & money (3 answers total)
The prospective client received her diagnosis back in November and has experienced a steady deterioration since. She and her husband are seeking to eventually employ a full-time live-in care-aid as her care level increases. For now, all she needs is someone who can come to her home for a few hours a day to cook meals, assist her movement (in and out of bed/chairs, up/down the stairs), ensure she's comfortable and provide companionship.
My main concern is any possible liability I might face in the event that she experiences a health crisis while in my care (e.g. a sudden injury due to her tremors or a fall). I'm aware that in long-term residence facilities for people in her health condition there are specific policies for dealing with a client who has had a fall. Care-aids are specifically instructed NOT to try move or pick up a client who has fallen, for fear of liability over inadvertently aggravating the injury until a nurse can come and make a formal assessment.
I see in the contract (which I have not yet signed) that the employers reserve the right to file an alternate suit against the contractor (me) if gross negligence is alleged -- that seems pretty standard. However I would like to request, as an amendment to the contract in writing, an explicit procedure for any health emergencies that may arise (who to contact in what order, permission to move her to a safe location if necessary in the event of a fall). Would this be a reasonable and professional request? I don't want to find myself debating what constitutes 'negligence' in the event she has a health emergency, to which I would respond in accordance with my Occupational First Aid training. Is there anyone who has done work like this who can see anything I might be overlooking?