Preventing falls as a senior living home is critical, for both safety and well-being of residents, but it’s easier said than done.
Although no one likes to feel left out, seniors who suffer from social isolation are likely to be struck by more than loneliness. Many will face serious health consequences from a lack of engagement, and social isolation has even been associated with increased mortality.
When it comes to quality of life and care coordination for seniors, it’s widely acknowledged that fall prevention must be part of any preventative health measures. Not only do falls cause injuries and fatalities, but they can also affect mental health, emotional wellbeing, and senior independence.
With the aid of cutting-edge technologies, the world of risk assessment in senior housing has made great strides in recent years. Remote sensing tied to artificial intelligence software has made it possible to observe seniors passively, to build a baseline picture of their regular movement patterns, and to send automated warnings when a fall may be imminent.
Falls are among the most costly, and also the most preventable, medical events in the senior housing setting. They’re costly to the health system, as falls are a frequent cause of hospitalization, and costly to the housing operator. Falls may create the need for extra staff or they may trigger unnecessary vacancies.
Senior living executives and clinicians often have resident falls as a top priority throughout the community. Rightfully so, as falls can cause unplanned emergency room visits, hospital stays, and even move-outs due to death or increased care needs. In order to best combat resident falls, clinicians know the benefit of stopping the fall before it happens in the first place. Determining which residents are at a higher risk to fall can be a first step in determining approaches, interventions, and even staff ratios.
Every senior living community implements emergency measures for resident falls, and responds quickly to minimize injury when an accident occurs. But are you doing enough when it comes to prevention?
Millions of seniors over the age of 65 fall each year, with astounding consequences that affect both body and pocketbook. According to the CDC, one out of every five falls results in a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury. Beyond broken hips and traumatic brain injuries, falls cost money – a lot of money. The CDC estimates direct medical costs incurred by fall injuries are approximately $34 billion annually.
It would be hard to overstate the possible negative impact of a fall in a senior’s quality of life. Twenty percent of falls cause serious injury, including broken bones and head injuries, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Senior housing providers take the threat of falls seriously. According to the Centers for Disease Control, some 1,800 people living in nursing homes die from falls each year. Medical costs associated with falls among seniors may rise to as much as much as $54.9 billion by 2020.