Services provided by assisted living facility for brain injury are compensable
Case name: Pack v. Little Rock Convention Center & Visitors Bureau, No. 11-1287 (Ark. 05/02/13).
The Arkansas Supreme Court held that a worker was entitled to nursing services provided by an assisted living facility.
What it means: In Arkansas, services provided by an assisted living facility to take care of, minister to, and tend to an injured worker qualify as nursing services and are compensable.
A maintenance worker suffered a compensable work-related brain injury that rendered him permanently and totally disabled. He lived with his aunt and uncle, who were his legal guardians. The aunt and uncle requested additional benefits in the form of nursing services at an assisted living facility to receive long-term care. The employer asserted that the benefits were not qualified nursing services. The Arkansas Supreme Court held that the worker was entitled to the services provided by the assisted living facility.
Applying the law in effect at the time of the worker's injury, the court said that the employer was responsible for nursing services that were reasonably necessary in connection with the injury. Nursing services are those rendered in tending or ministering to another in sickness or infirmity. The worker asserted that the services at the facility were nursing services because they provided attendant and nursing services as encompassed in his medical treatment plan. The employer asserted that the facilities services were noncompensable custodial services, as the services included assistance with household and personal tasks. The court disagreed with the employer's argument, finding that the facility's services were "nursing services."
The worker could not be left alone and needed cues to perform essentially all of his functions and activities. Without the cues, he could not perform necessary daily responsibilities to care for himself, maintain a healthy life, and avoid serious medical intervention. The cues were tending to, ministering to, and providing nursing services to an individual with a brain injury. The court said the cues were not household tasks, personal tasks, or custodial tasks.
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August 12, 2013
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