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Accreditation: Assess for fire, fall risks

Accreditation: Assess for fire, fall risks

Harold DavisQ. When is a home safety assessment required and what needs to be assessed? 

A. The DMEPOS Quality Standards require home medical equipment providers to “have a program that promotes safe equipment and item use and minimizes staff and patient safety risks, infections and hazards.”  

The supplier must also “ensure patients and caregivers can use all equipment and items safely and effectively in their anticipated settings.” Therefore, in most cases, the completion of a home assessment would be expected for all equipment delivered to the home.  

The home assessment should be pertinent to the equipment delivered. Some providers utilize very detailed assessment tools that may include a fall risk assessment; others use a simpler assessment tool. Accreditation organizations have different requirements, so you should refer to your AO standards regarding assessments to be certain that the tool you are using is compliant with their standards.  

Since all of the patients we serve have some form of disability the need for early detection of smoke and fire is very important. The home should be inspected for a functional smoke detector and fire extinguisher. When oxygen is provided, the home should be inspected for fire risks that would be associated with cooking, smoking, the use of open-flame heaters and fireplaces.  

The manufacturers of all electrical medical equipment require that the outlet used be grounded, so the grounding of outlets should be assessed. This is easily performed with the use of a very inexpensive outlet tester.  

What should you do if an issue is noted while performing an assessment? The patient should be informed, and the issue should be documented. The service technician would make a recommendation for the patient to correct the issue and document the recommendation. 

Harold Davis is director of survey services for HQAA. Reach him at


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