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Written Policies and Safety Precautions for Entities that Transport Clients, Residents or Patients Outside the Facility

PDF Version of BQA 06-001 (PDF, 91 KB)

Date: January 3, 2006 -- DDES-BQA 06-001

FROM: Jan Eakins, Section Chief, Provider Regulation and Quality Improvement

Via: Otis Woods, Director, Bureau of Quality Assurance

The purpose of this memo is to increase awareness of several serious situations that have arisen when clients, residents or patients have been transported outside the facility. This includes being left in vehicles unattended during periods of heat and cold, and not being properly secured during transportation. Since these situations can be life-threatening, it is important for entities that transport clients, residents or patients outside the facility to address associated risk factors.

Organizations are expected to have written policies that address the transportation of clients or residents outside the facility. If an entity contracts for transportation services with an outside agency, the entity should ensure that the transportation company they are using has similar safeguards as part of their policies.

Typical written policies for entities that provide their own transportation services include, but are not limited to:

  1. A plan for in-service training of staff and volunteers who transport, or accompany clients, residents or patients during transit.
  2. A plan for providing supervision to clients, residents, or patients during periods of transportation outside the facility.
  3. A procedure to initially assess clients, residents, or patients for risks during periods of transportation outside the facility and to reassess as necessary when changes occur.
  4. A plan to address the safe and secure transport of clients, residents or patients. Issues to consider in this plan include the use of seat belts, security of wheel chairs, safety precautions when transporting oxygen or other potentially hazardous materials, and a schedule for the provision of vehicle maintenance.

An important factor to remember when establishing policies and procedures is that Wisconsin does experience varying temperature conditions, including heat and cold. It is especially important for entities to recognize risk factors when transporting clients, residents or patients during these times.

The following information from a study conducted by Stanford University doctors and a San Francisco State meteorologist show that temperatures inside a vehicle can rise to life-threatening levels even when outdoor temperatures are moderate.

Graphs depicting temperature rise in vehicles, fatalities in US

Please see additional information on hypothermia and heat-related illness at --

Thank you for your commitment to the health, safety and welfare of residential and health care consumers in Wisconsin. If you have additional questions, please contact one of the persons listed below.

Name/Title/Contact Information  Programs Covered
Kevin Coughlin
Section Chief
Assisted Living Section
Adult Day Cares, Adult Family Homes, Community Based Residential Facilities, Residential Care Apartment Complexes
Jane Walters [replaced by Cremear Mims, 243-2028]
Interim Section Chief
Health Services Section
(608) 266-7952
Ambulatory Surgical Centers, Certified Mental Health and AODA Treatment Centers, End Stage Renal Dialysis Centers, Hospitals
JoAnne Powell, Regional Director
Resident Care Review Section
(715) 365-2802 /
(920) 448-5249
Nursing Homes, ICFs/MR (FDDs)

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