Why risk assessments are vital in a care home
Having a risk assessment in a care home it’s a legal requirement, especially because of the vulnerable nature of its residents. Visitors, like family or agency professionals also need protecting, alongside staff exposed to slippery surfaces and tripping hazards, for example. You will need in the first place to observe and evaluate the risks residents/staff/visitors might be exposed to and make sure you take appropriate measures to minimise these risks.
A risk assessment helps you identify potential hazards that pose a danger to staff, residents or visitors. By documenting them, you can determine how to eliminate, or minimise these risks and create a safer environment.
Start by identifying potential hazards through thoroughly inspecting the premises. Consider blocked fire exits, infection control, manual handling procedures and slippery floors. Staff should be provided with training at induction and also regular health & safety training can help them to take necessary measures in certain situations.
Review health records to spot regular occurrences of accidents or incidents which can be avoided. Check manufacturer’s instructions, particularly for equipment and chemicals. Also cast an eye over training records, supervision and behaviour of staff to make sure they are effectively and safely tending to residents.
Consider who might be at risk and how you can reduce those risks. Think about groups of staff and individuals that may come into contact with specific dangers like sharps This can pose an increased risk, as residents and visitors may not be aware of your procedures.
Record and evaluate all the hazards you identify. Then determine how to eliminate or minimise them, through better staff training, improved fire evacuation procedures, updated care plans or introducing equipment to help your team.
It’s a legal requirement to document your results. They’re key to referring back to the changes you may have implemented and also to referring back to when conducting your regular updates. Sharing these with staff is paramount, especially with new staff during their induction. All these measures help ensure your care home adheres to the law, offers a safe environment for staff and residents and is a comfortable, safe place to be.