Community Services and Long-Term Care: Issues of Negligence and Liability. Basic Scenario #2


Case Manager Good arranges for Helper Jones to prepare meals for Client Smith 3 times per week. As a result, Client Smith’s services from Meals on Wheels, a formal provider, are reduced from 5 deliveries per week to 2 deliveries per week.

Case managers in complex model channeling agencies, have the authority to limit or deny services. They may reduce the amount of services a client was receiving prior to becoming a channeling client or replace a formal care provider with a volunteer or paid but nonagency connected individual (contracted individual).

For this discussion, a volunteer is defined as one who gives his or her services without any express or implied promise of remuneration. There is a difference, however, between and among volunteers. In the context of liability it makes a difference whether the channeling or provider agency made arrangements for the volunteer or whether the client made the arrangements. The important question is, “Whom does the volunteer work for?”

A contracted individual is defined as one who performs a service for a client for remuneration but who is not an employee of the agency. For example, a client’s neighbor who agrees to prepare the client’s meals for remuneration is a contracted individual, so is the client’s housekeeper. Contracts may be written or unwritten but the services to be offered by the contracted individual are specified in the care plan. The contracted individual is an individual, self-employed entrepreneur. The respective liabilities are defined, therefore, in terms of the contract, written or otherwise.

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