Residential Care and Assisted Living Compendium: 2007. Negotiated Risk Agreements

11/30/2007

As illustrated in the examples above, ensuring resident autonomy is a central concept in the assisted living philosophy. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have regulations referencing a process or approach for negotiating disagreements about residents’ autonomy and risk taking and providers’ concerns about risk (Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.) States use different terms to describe the process -- negotiated risk, managed risk, shared responsibility, compliance agreement, and negotiated plan of care.

Despite differences in the term, most of the regulations share common features, such as requiring that the agreement be written and signed by the resident and the appropriate facility administrator. State regulations typically require that the agreement describe the possible consequences of the resident’s actions, the specific concerns of the facility, and options that will both minimize the risk and respect the resident’s choices. They also generally require documentation of the negotiation process, and agreement or lack thereof, and the decision reached by the resident after consideration of the facility’s concerns. Several states allow surrogates or sponsors to negotiate risk agreements.

Examples of states’ specific provisions follow.

  • The District of Columbia defines a shared responsibility agreement as a “tool to recognize a resident’s right to autonomy by respecting his or her right to make individual decisions regarding lifestyle, personal behavior, safety and individual service plans.

  • New Jersey defines managed risk as the process of balancing residents’ choice and independence with the health and safety needs of the resident and other persons in the facility or program. If a resident’s preference or decision places the resident or others at risk or is likely to lead to adverse consequences, the facility may discuss such risks or consequences with the resident (and their representative if the resident wants). The facility can then negotiate with the resident a formal plan to avoid or reduce negative or adverse outcomes.

  • Oregon’s rules do not allow managed risk plans “with or on behalf of a resident who is unable to recognize the consequences of his/her behavior or choices.”

  • Vermont’s rules require that the facility notify the resident that the state Long-Term Care Ombudsman is available to assist in the negotiated risk process.

  • Wisconsin’s rules state that risk agreements do not mitigate or waive any tenant’s rights.

State licensing officials in states that allow negotiated risk agreements indicated that they are not widely used.

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