The Importance of Fall Prevention Programs at Assisted Living and Senior Living Communities (Part 1)

Press Release from Peak Therapy Solutions

Falls can be especially dangerous for older adults, often causing fractures, hospitalization, and disability. The risk of falling increases with age, leaving senior populations vulnerable and posing a serious threat to health, longevity, and independence for older adults. This also presents a risk to independent living communities where older adults reside, as falls are a major contributor to hospitalizations among seniors. Reducing hospitalizations is a primary goal in most communities. The good news is that many falls are avoidable.

More than one in four people aged 65 years or older fall each year, and half of those will end up falling again within six months. That’s over 3 million falls per year, with half of all those being fatal and over 87% requiring emergency room treatment. Of those hospitalizations, 50% require surgery to repair hip fractures. It’s fair to say that having a holistic, resident centered fall assessment and senior fall prevention program in place is critical to both residents and community operators.

The senior population at greatest risk for loss of function or loss of life after a fall are residents age 85 and older. The average age of assisted living residents is 84. Though most facilities allow patients as young as 65, 52% of residents are over 85, and 30% are between 75 and 84.

Studies show that fall risks are multifactorial and that effective fall prevention programs are lacking in most communities. Most organizations don’t offer specialized, clinical therapies aimed specifically at reducing the risk of falls among senior living populations. Higher-risk populations, such as frail, injured, and post-surgical individuals, require specialized clinical programming not widely found in today’s communities, and home health programs often don’t address these individuals from a clinical standpoint. As a result, the lack of a universal fall screening and prevention program within senior living communities is the root cause of falls.

According to The Joint Commission, the frequency and severity of senior falls can be attributed to six leading contributors:

· Inadequate fall assessment

· Lack of adherence to safety practices

· Inadequate care management/not having proper access to skilled therapy

· Deficiencies in the physical environment (surroundings presenting a risk)

· Lack of action by leadership

In order to be successful, community leaders must make outpatient fall prevention screening and clinical programs accessible to residents on demand, and in the convenience of their homes.

In our next blog in this two-part Fall Prevention series, we discuss advancements in fall prevention and proven ways for senior community leaders to address them.

Companies Mentioned in this Press Release: