The Odd Couple: How Fall Risk Assessments Improve Resident Retention

When looking at financial reports, senior care executives must not get too wrapped up in looking at move-ins for the month. Instead, closing the back door and keeping residents in the community is often the way to a more successful bottom line at the end of each month. It’s not secret that resident retention is just as important – if not more so – than moving residents into a community. However, it might be a surprise that focusing on clinical items, such as fall risk assessments, can increase resident retention rates.

Keep residents off the floor.

Falls are a major concern for any senior care executive or clinician. Not only can falls lead to trips to the emergency room and unplanned hospital stays, falls can also be a symptom of a bigger health concern that staff didn’t catch.

Fall risk assessments, such as the Timed Up and Go (TUG), are a wonderful way for clinicians to assess everything from judgment to endurance. These assessed qualities are able to gauge if a resident might end up on the floor after a fall. Clinicians are then able to review high risk residents and put interventions into place, and update the care plan accordingly, to keep residents as safe as possible.

While fall assessments are indeed valuable, most assessments are only updated by staff every quarter or every month. Residents are constantly changing, and monthly assessments are not giving staff members the most accurate glimpse into their health. Fortunately, remote monitoring technology now gives communities the chance to use artificial intelligence that measures Timed Up and Go scores in real time, giving staff up to the minute scores that can give caregivers the leg up on illnesses or conditions that can cause a fall.

Keep residents strong.

Fall assessments not only give staff a heads up on conditions that may cause a fall, but assessments can also notice a decline in mobility, endurance, or strength. Each of these qualities are instrumental in keeping a resident from falling, and each can decline so slowly that a major difference is not noticed until it is too late.

Remote technology can provide staff members with fall risk assessments that provide a closer look into the the residents’ daily lives within their apartment. While staff members get a good look at how residents are moving and maneuvering through the halls on the way to meals or activities, caregivers aren’t necessarily seeing them walk to and from the bathroom or back and forth to the kitchen. Remote monitoring will notice if a resident is staying in their chair longer or walking shorter distances. Staff can then take that information and determine what is causing the decline in endurance and strength, and implement interventions or other services that can reverse that momentum.

Keep residents in place.

Fall risk assessments, when done often and thoroughly, can lead to preventative interventions and services put into place long before a fall happens. By keeping residents healthy, strong, and free from falls, staff members are able to watch residents age in place for longer. If clinicians can effectively decrease falls, resident retention is sure to improve as residents are out of the hospital and rehabilitation center;. Instead, residents are safe in their apartment for months and even years to come.

How have you seen fall risk assessments prevent residents from leaving your community, either to the hospital or a more advanced level of care?

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