Thursday, 25 July 2013: 3:55 PM
Learning Objective 1: Discuss elderly falls as a safe-quality and economic opportunity in healthcare
Learning Objective 2: Articulate effective strategies to assess, design and implement holistic fall prevention program for elderly home bound patients living at home or in community settings
Unintentional falls among the elderly are recognized as a safe-quality and economic issue because elderly falls are a leading cause of injury and accidental death in adults over the age of 65 years, in addition to its economic burden. Falling is a greater problem for the non-institutionalized elderly; those living at home or within community settings. Research suggests that one in three non-institutionalized elderly fall. In an attempt to quantify the financial implications of elderly falls, studies have attributed as much as 1.5% of a country’s total healthcare expenditure to elderly falls and its sequel. Further, falls are on the rise due to increased shifting demographics where the numbers of elderly, who are more prone to falls, are increasing. To significantly prevent falls, improve safety, and reduce cost, healthcare organizations must effectively assess patients’ fall risk, and engage and educate patients and their families on how to prevent falls. To that effect, a home health agency instituted a fall assessment and prevention program called: “Catch the Falling Star Project”. This project was developed from a thorough review of the literature and collaboration of members of the inter-disciplinary care team including consumer representatives. Catch the Falling Star Project has proved effective, in that the fall rate for this particular home health agency’s patients has significantly decreased to less than 3%. much higher than the state and national benchmarks. The program was developed with input from patient/consumer representatives who are also members of the organization’s professional advisory committee.