How can massage therapists prevent claims?
A large number of people suffer from aches and pains – whether from an underlying medical condition or just a nagging issue that raises its head from time to time.
This is where massage therapists can help – offering much needed relief to overcome pain and discomfort.
There are voluntary regulators for complementary health practitioners like the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), which helps set out guidelines for best practice and protection of the public, however preventing claims against you can be tricky without understanding the risks.
The risks faced by massage therapists
Working as a massage therapist can present a number of key risks:.
- You may encounter clients who have not previously sought any assistance for their condition, and who may have undiagnosed medical issues which need to be addressed.
- Patients may have medical conditions and injuries which could be made worse during treatment.
- Some massages might lead to uncomfortable or embarrassing situations.
- A client may have an accident at your premises (including if you work from home) during the course of your work.
Any of the incidents above could lead to a client trying to claim compensation from their massage therapist. Such legal action could be extremely costly – both in a financial and a reputational sense.
How to protect yourself as a massage therapist
The above list won’t, of course, come as any surprise to anyone who is a massage therapist. It’s important to stay true to your training and deliver your therapy in a cool-headed and professional manner. In particular, that means:
- Having a thorough discussion with clients before your first session. By obtaining as much detail as possible about existing medical conditions, you can use your knowledge and experience to try to avoid exacerbating them during the course of your therapy. You should also consider any allergies which might be an issue with products like massage oils that you use.
- Talking through the therapy you will be carrying out, to give your client the opportunity to raise any concerns. Your client should know exactly what they’ll be getting in their treatment.
- Having an open dialogue throughout your treatment. That way you can ease up on any activity that is causing unexpected pain or discomfort.
Acting in an open and professional way should help to avoid allegations of professional negligence, as well as ensure your client is satisfied with the treatment they receive. However, it’s important to recognise that sometimes circumstances are out of your control. As a result, it’s important to have some protection in the form of massage insurance.
What massage insurance can cover
A massage therapist is likely to need public liability and professional indemnity (or professional malpractice) insurance. This type of policy will protect you if you’re accused of professional negligence through your treatment.
So, whether a client claims that they are unable to work as a result of an injury caused during a massage, that they have suffered an allergic reaction to an oil used or claim that they were injured in a trip or fall at your premises – this cover will pay the legal costs to defend the claim, as well as any compensation that is due to your client. Additionally, our 24 hour legal helpline provides you with direct access to qualified solicitors who can advise you on how to handle a tricky situation.
Given the delicate nature of the work carried out – and the range of potential risks this offers – it’s important to consider this kind of insurance so that you can ensure a professional outlook in your work, and also receive the legal support you need in case the worst should happen.