When a person suffers a life-debilitating workplace injury, the medical expenses for current and future needs can be astronomical. When the injuries are permanent and life-changing, it could require that the victim be placed in a nursing home facility or require in-home nursing care. In-home nursing care helps the victim with daily life activities such as bathing, grooming, dressing, shopping, cleaning, getting to and from medical appointments and rehabilitation therapy, administering medication, and changing diapers or catheters as necessary. However, all of this can come at a significant cost, which makes many people ask whether the employer should cover the costs of in-home nursing care? At Harbison & Kavanagh, we zealously advocate on behalf of our injured clients to ensure they receive the care they need.
Does an Employer Have to Pay?
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has held that an employer should cover the costs of in-home nursing care if it is prescribed by the treating physician and is reasonably and medically necessary. It is important to note that if the employer is required to cover the cost of in-home nursing care the employer also gets to choose the provider. The injury victim has no authority to say which services are used to provide care, so long as the choice of the employer meets the requirements set by the physician. This applies to full-time and part-time in-home nursing care.
Can the Employer Pay for Care Provided by Spouse?
In addition to paying for an outside service to provide in-home nursing care, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission also requires the employer to pay the spouse of an injured worker for in-home care if the following requirements are met:
- The employer knows the in-home medical care is a result of a workplace accident
- The medical attention is provided under the direction and control of a physician
- The care rendered by the spouse is the kind normally rendered by trained professionals that goes beyond typical household duties
- There is a means to determine the value of the care rendered by the spouse
For example, grocery shopping and doing laundry would not be covered because those are normal household duties of a spouse but administering intravenous medication or changing catheters would require the employer to pay the spouse for their care. This also applies to other family members or friends of the family, provided they can prove that they quit their job or reduced their work hours to provide in-home care that is provided under the direction of a physician.
Nursing Cost Considerations
It is important to note that cost is considered when determining whether the employer will pay for in-home nursing care. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has found that if the cost of in-home nursing care is significantly greater than the cost of admitting the injured worker into a nursing home facility and that the medical care and treatment would be the same, it can require the injured employee to go to the nursing home facility or else the employer does not have to pay.
Our Office Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job and you have questions regarding in-home nursing care and nursing costs, our experienced attorneys at Harbison & Kavanagh may be able to help. Call or contact us today to schedule a review of your case.