Aug 13, 2020

Group Home Risk Management: Challenging Patient Behaviors

Category: Social Services

For group homes that work with individuals with behavior challenges, it’s essential to recognize their particular risks and how they can safely operate and protect everyone onsite. An unsupportive environment only harms the client’s well-being and negatively impacts other clients, staff, and the organization as a whole. Right now, group homes are trying to navigate COVID-19 measures to minimize the spread of the virus. But even without a global pandemic, understanding how to create a risk management plan is vital. To better manage operational risks in this setting, it’s crucial to design and adhere to a comprehensive group home risk management plan. The following components should be considered for such a program.

Written Policies & Procedures

Written policies and procedures on how to recognize, respond, and evaluate clients with challenging behaviors help establish clear communication protocols and expectations of a group home’s staff. These also help develop consistent guidelines for a group home’s management and board to review and update when needed. Written policies and procedures also boost transparency within a group home by understanding an organization’s approach to challenging behaviors.

Behavior Intervention Plan

A pre-planned behavior intervention plan outlining actions to manage a client’s challenging behavior is also helpful. These plans often suggest positive reinforcement techniques to promote better behavior among group home clients and identify common precursors to challenging behaviors.

These plans are developed by stakeholders of a group home that want to prevent challenging behavior in the first place. From senior management to clinical directors and supervisors, these plans should be periodically reviewed and revised to help enhance all clients’ overall well-being.

Risk Management Training

Training programs for a group home’s staff should focus on identifying and addressing challenging behaviors to limit potential injuries to staff and other clients. This hands-on training includes learning better relationship-building skills, de-escalation techniques, and recognition of preceding events leading to undesired behaviors. This training also includes learning appropriate physical restraint and self-defense techniques so the staff is able to defend themselves.


A group home’s supervisory staff should be actively involved in the entire risk management program. They should remain aware of how its front-line staff is adhering to policies and procedures and related protocols. Feedback to front-line staff includes constructive responses for any events that weren’t handled properly and positive feedback on successful tactics.


Debriefing is an appropriate step following any physical restraint or challenging event that causes property damage or harm to any staff member or client. All components of this kind of event should be reviewed within the debriefing process, including considering what could have been done differently to prevent the event and the de-escalation techniques utilized. Any lessons learned from such an event should be debriefed to all staff.

About Tangram Insurance Services

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram Insurance Services is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.