Our goal is to help you build your business and have peace of mind that you are covered in case of a general liability or professional liability incident. To help you reduce the risk of a claim, we've put together a list of steps to take that will help take away some of the common causes of accidents.
- Clean Environment
Keep your office clean and equipment in good repair. If you’re a massage therapist, esthetician, or other practitioner that uses a table for your clients, check your table’s hardware and parts regularly. If your table is set fairly high, provide a step stool for your short stature clients. If your client’s feet are bare, wipe their feet dry before they get up and clean up any spills off the floor (especially oil spills!). A tidy, uncluttered environment goes far in reducing your liability risk.
- Safe Environment
Be sure to keep all electrical cords (extension, telephone, lamp and appliance) away from foot traffic. Put non-skid mats under area rugs. Keep the exterior access to your office clear of debris and snow or ice. If you use candles, do not leave them unattended. Make sure any sharp objects are out of reach of any younger clients and safely stored.
- Communicate Regarding Pain
Pay attention to your client’s pain threshold and be aware of the pressure you are using. Ask your client if the pressure is comfortable. If you have a new client, tell him/her before starting the treatment that it is normal to be sore in certain areas for a day or two. Informing clients ahead of time will relieve their concerns and reduce the chances of a possible complaint. Make use of client intake forms to gather information about previous injuries or more sensitive areas, and then implement that information into your session.
- Be Proactive Regarding Potential Dizziness
Tell your clients to take their time getting off the table to prevent dizziness or lightheadedness. If they express lightheadedness or dizziness after they have gotten off the table, then have them sit in a chair for a while and drink some water. You might consider offering to help them out to their car after their lightheadedness has passed.
- Provide Complete Privacy and Personal Security for Clients
To help avoid sexual harassment charges, give your clients complete privacy while they undress and get on the table. Have them remove only the amount of clothing that is comfortable for them and provide a secure drape for them to cover up with. What may be an innocent comment or touch to you may be interpreted differently by a client. Be aware of your remarks and explain the type of touch you will use so they will know what to expect.
- Communicate Regarding Expectations
Communicate with your clients before the treatment about their expectations. Do not assume they will know what to expect during or after the treatment—tell them specifically what will happen and make sure they understand the risks and benefits. Communication shows you care.
- Follow-up With New Clients
When you have a new client, consider calling them the day after their first appointment to learn how they are feeling. This is especially important with elderly clients. In addition to making the client feel valued and appreciated, it also can help you quickly identify any problems resulting from a treatment. If a client has a skin reaction to a new treatment, for example, you can address the issue immediately, potentially preventing a more serious claim.
- Animal Massage Therapists: Consistently Communicate
When practicing animal massage, communicating with the primary caregiver of the animal, whether the owner, trainer or vet, is of primary importance. Many times the issue presented by the owner may not be where you want to work first. Pay close attention to the animal’s body language. For your own protection, try to keep in close physical contact to the trunk of the animal because you will be able to sense if the animal is getting ready to kick or make some other sudden movement.
Many of these tools center around communication, which is your most important tool. By talking to your client and listening to them, you can help them have a wonderful experience with your service, making the chance of a claim much less likely.