Originally Published in McKnight's, Febraury 2016
By Bruce Baron (CEO)
The seniors in your care are at risk for falls or other episodic events. How do we know this? About one third of the elder population over the age of 65 falls each year, and the risk of falls increases proportionately with age. At 80 years, over half of seniors fall annually. Getting help after an immobilizing fall improves the chance of survival by 80% and increases the likelihood of a return to independent living.
Despite all of the technology available to caregivers, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the unintentional death rate from falls for seniors 65+ has increased 41% for the 10-year period 2004-2013. This statistic is alarming, and begs the question - do you have a plan to keep your seniors safe?
Safety and peace of mind often drives many seniors and/or their caregivers to seek housing at senior living communities or to participate in Adult Day programs. One simple way to offer seniors and their families the peace of mind they seek is to provide daily wellness check-ins. These check-ins ensure that the seniors are “up and about” in the mornings and that they are well during the day.
To perform wellness checks, many communities use manual processes such as: phone calls, door tags, flippers, mailbox cards, door-to-door checks and dining room attendance. These manual wellness check-ins are often inaccurate and time-consuming for the staff. At VoiceFriend, we encourage wellness check-ins and have developed an easy to use automated calling service to ensure wellness checks are simple, convenient and cost effective.
The Summit at First Hill, a senior living community in Seattle, uses VoiceFriend's automated messaging solution to perform resident wellness check-ins. The Summit at First Hill finds that the automated wellness checks are easy to set up, enables staff to spend more time on other tasks and most importantly, are more accurate than manual processes. The team can make the wellness check-in process less cumbersome, according to the executive director.
Falls and other episodic events can be tragic for seniors. Automated wellness check-ins can offer eldercare providers an effective and productive solution to ensure the seniors in your care are safe and healthy.