Our recent webinar covered two fall prevention innovations that have proved to be well worth implementing in senior living communities. This article shares some of the top takeaway points and key experiences of successful fall prevention programs from clinical and quality professionals.
According to Nicole Watson, VP of Clinical Excellence at Spiritrust Lutheran, "Our consumers, the families and caregivers are all looking at the five-star ratings now. To make sure it's a good place to send their loved one and I'm hearing more and more now that potential employees are looking at this data to determine 'is this a place I want to work?'"
Therefore five-star ratings or the lack thereof can significantly impact your occupancy, marketability and employability appeal. Ensuring you're offering true quality care will affect your star rating one way or the other so it's vital to ensure your clinical and caregiving team is set up for success with the right tools for the job at hand: ensuring the safety, comfort and wellbeing of the older adults in your care.
Falls cost. That's just a fact. They cause pain, embarrassment, indignity and fear for the resident and cost energy, time, stress and money for the facility. But can we actually attribute a number to the cost of a single fall? Terri Silkett, Quality of Care Coordinator at Oregon State Veterans Homes explains how her team discovered an average price tag of a fall with injury.
"I think we looked at this really deeply with our performance improvement project team. So we looked at the cost of discharge charts, readmission charts, the time that it took to do those neuro checks and incident reports, the conversations that we have with families and physicians when there is a fall, medication reviews - both before and after [send out]. The time that takes, the cost of ambulance and the time it takes for staff getting someone ready for transportation, sleep loss and the adjustment that it is to send someone to the hospital. Those were all things that we looked at. So, we have some average costs of a fall with injury. I believe that's really a low number." - Terri Silkett
Terri's facility in Oregon found that the average cost of a fall with injury was $5,267. In one of the buildings she oversees, there were 92 falls recorded with injury in 2022 so had they been prevented, that would have seen a cost saving of around $484K per year and Terri still believes this is a baseline, conservative number.
So the question is really, can we afford NOT to invest in fall prevention? Will LTC communities still be running in ten years with the ever-increasing acuity levels of our residents which will only exacerbate the problem, continuous restrictions on staffing ratios and fines from the government bodies regarding falls?
Our latest webinar covered two types of innovative weapons you could consider for your arsenal in the fight against falls and fall-related injuries that could help care providers future-proof their facility. We explored the Durable Medical Equipment element of fall prevention programs and an innovation in AI that can aid your performance improvement projects (PIPs).
Sure, we already use plenty of DME to help prevent falls and mitigate risks in senior living communities, but there is a game changer out there that can dramatically reduce bed fall numbers and injuries and the people who have implemented it in their LTC/SNFs already think you need to know about it.
Amy Cline, Clinical Success Manager for SafelyYou states, "Accora FloorBeds have drastically reduced the severity of some falls and most importantly, the level of impact that our residents are experiencing."
She demonstrated a case study in our recent webinar which showed how falls were significantly reduced upon the implementation of an Accora FloorBed.
Amy explains, "This resident has a lot of highs and lows, there's a lot of behaviors with this resident here. In January this resident was having some kind of infection and a big increase of falls there. Accora bed was implemented in late February, and we see a drastic stop, just a big, massive five-month stop of falls here."
It may also be useful to note that the few falls that were recorded in the later months were non-injurious, did not result in ER send-outs and were not related to the bed.
Nicole Watson, VP of Clinical Excellence described her findings from a clinical trial held at Masonic Villages in Pennsylvania where they compared ultra-low beds to Accora's Empresa FloorBed for fall-risk residents.
"As a clinician and as a Director of Nursing these are three pieces I take away from our evaluation that really exemplify what the bed can do for our residents. Our overall number of falls went down by 55% which is significant. The second piece is 77% reduction in bed falls and then amazingly, the third is that we had zero injuries from bed falls."
There are various Artificial Intelligence surveillance systems out there that can assist in root cause analysis and provide valuable data to fuel your performance improvement programs. One of these AI providers is SafelyYou. The cameras begin recording when a change of level occurs and alerts nursing staff of this so they can attend to the resident immediately.
In cases where residents are cognitively impaired or become disoriented by the fall, this cuts out all the guesswork of the root cause analysis even if the resident cannot explain to you what happened. As Terri Silkett says, now you can "see behind closed doors". While the fall may not have been prevented this time, now you can know for sure what caused the fall and implement a strategy to prevent a reoccurrence.
Most experts agree that a multi-faceted approach to fall prevention is ideal, so it's considered best practice to have access to a range of appropriate interventions to support fall prevention. In addition to this, you need a great quality team on board and staff that are constantly training to improve their professional development and caregiving.
Some of the experts we consulted on this topic are of the opinion that AI fall detection and Accora FloorBeds are the comprehensive answer to providing a balanced adult fall prevention program for the bedroom, at least.
Amy Cline suggests that "dual use of AI as well as this high-tech DME is definitely assisting with clinical outcomes and insight. Making recommendations for this has shown a lot of success among some of my residents." Using both AI and Accora beds in conjunction supports data collection for ongoing performance improvement and turns preventable bed falls into rolls. Both instruments can assist in the prevention of fatal and non-fatal injuries from preventable fall events and over time can pay for themselves in substantial cost savings.
At home, we use technology, gadgets and devices to make our lives easier and safer. Many households use some form of surveillance whether it's a nanny cam type of device or a doorbell that lets you see who's on your doorstep from wherever you are. We've come to rely on smart tech for our comfort and peace of mind so when it comes to choosing a SNF or LTC facility for their loved one, people are likely to look favorably on nursing facilities with tech at least to the extent of what they have at home.
Terri Silkett describes the desire for innovation and tech-enabled facilities. She says, “Why do your families and residents want that [innovation]? Well, we all have smartphones. We all have smart lights; I know I have at home. I can turn them on and off with my phone. We have all the capability of that at home with Alexa and all these apps that people want. They want that and they want safety for their loved ones that are in facilities.”
Simply put, the people whose decision it is to send a resident to you, have plenty of options and all the research tools they need to make an informed decision about a nursing home. If your LTC community does not offer advanced technology for the safety and comfort of its residents, then they may favor one that does. Our advice: the right technology implementation might just give you the edge over your competitors when it comes to marketing.
Amy Cline of SafelyYou stated in our recent webinar, "SafelyYou and most AI-enabled detection companies are all very sensitive to privacy. They're usually all 100% consented programs, requiring the resident's consent. It's only going to start recording once someone is on the ground," so the cameras are not on all the time.
It's also good to note that SafelyYou does not have any audio recordings and the data can only be viewed by approved persons at the nursing home and SafelyYou where consent is given.