Fall prevention is a hot topic in any senior living community. While great strides have been made in fall prevention techniques and guidelines, the CDC reports that about 1,800 seniors die each year as a result of injuries sustained during a fall. For senior care executives and clinical practitioners who work within a senior living community, falls not only negatively affect the quality of life of the residents but also the bottom line of the community. Residents who fall can end up in the hospital for long, unplanned visits, and complications from the fall can lead the resident to end up in another level of care.
Stopping the fall before it happens is the key to eliminating any falls in senior care communities. However, how can it be possible to prevent the fall when it is unrealistic for staff members to be working side by side, on a one-to-one basis, with each resident within the community? Technology appears to be the answer, offering programs and options for senior care communities to not only prevent the fall, but to predict it based off patterns and real-time information from observing the resident.
Improving Timed Up and Go
Timed Up and Go scores are the industry go-to for fall prevention plans and care plan interventions. However, these scores are not always reliable and offer only a glimpse into the resident’s daily habits. Scores can vary greatly based on time of day, events of the day, or even what the resident ate for breakfast.
Smart technology is offering a better Timed Up and Go score that can give medical practitioners and the clinical team real-time Timed Up and Go scores. Artificial intelligence and other adapted technology that is discreetly placed in the resident apartment allows for constant check-ins on the resident and the daily routine. When paired with a strong clinical team, this technology can assess the Timed Up and Go score for the day or week and predict when the resident is more likely to fall. The clinical team can then plan interventions, assistance, and staff-to-resident ratios that will keep residents on their feet, and off the floor.
Monitoring Fall Risks
Timed Up and Go scores are reliable when it comes to falls that happen based on decreased strength, endurance, or large motor coordination. However, falls can happen to the strongest and most adept residents if there are other contributing factors. Senior specific fall prevention technology monitors factors that range from environmental issues to illnesses to sleep problems that can cause a weaker resident or a less safe environment.
When technology is able to monitor residents in the apartment, the system can alert medical professionals to any abnormalities assessed. Technology can notice chances in sleeping patterns, vital signs, or gait that could point to an impending illness or fall before even the most attentive staff would notice.
The correct technology can complement the clinical team in senior care communities in order to prevent falls throughout the community. How have you seen technology become a central point of your fall prevention plans?