Friday, July 15, 2011

Seniors: falls, wait times, safety

Falls in long-term care
Many of us can report about falls in our roles as caregivers. The government is just realizing that understanding the patterns, and preventing falls, is an excellent way to keep seniors healthier longer.
Preventing falls, which account for 65% of injuries in seniors, are said to cost Canada's healthcare system an estimated $2.8 billion, according to Credit Valley Hospital.

According to the Alberta government, falls caused more than 95% of hip fractures among seniors.
Did you know that 20% of seniors will die within the first year following a hip fracture and 50% never recover full mobility. Take their quiz for more information: QUIZ.

Visit the Injury Prevention section of the Division of Aging and Seniors Web site for useful information on preventing falls, including:



Ontario Health Quality Improvement: Individual Home Results by Indicator
Percentage of residents who had a recent fall
A fall — from a minor slip off a chair to a major fall onto the floor — can cause injury, disability or even death. It is impossible to prevent all falls, but many falls can be avoided by removing safety hazards (e.g., poor lighting, slippery floors, clutter or the wrong bed height), using assistive devices like walkers and correcting vision problems. Some medications also put people at risk for falls and should be avoided. Muscle-strengthening exercises can also help.

Reducing the number of falls is an important goal, as long as this goal is not reached through the regular use of restraints or because residents are not as mobile as they should be.

This information is misleading in that we have no idea of the residents' health issues in the long-term care. Physical restraints may be necessary for particular health issues. My late father kept falling out of his wheelchair and a restraint provided us some safety. He had a brain tumour and dementia.
Also, infection rates: flu, or infestations, e.g. scabies, need to be reported.

What you should know before you choose a LTC home
Violence and abuse should be reported: resident to staff, resident to resident.
Staff training initiatives.
Activities in the home. Most have a monthly schedule, with regular and special activities. LTC must report on resident's activities. Retirement homes do not.
Know whether it is for-profit or non-profit, Canadian-owned, or US conglomerate.
Staff turnover is a good indicator, but is not reported.

Public Reporting Indicators for LTC

The public reporting indicators for long-term care LTC used  were selected following a rigorous and evidence-based process that included:

These groups chose indicators that can be accurately measured and influenced by homes.Click here to read the scientific panel’s report, “Long-Term Care in Ontario: A Report on Quality.”



Other Public Reporting Efforts

Wait Times in Hospitals

As part of a provincial strategy to improve wait times for surgical procedures in Ontario hospitals, the Ontario government, through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, reports to the public on wait times for individual procedures and at a facility level, through the Ministry’s website.
Patient Safety in Hospitals

In September 2008, the Ontario government, through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, started reporting to the public on infection rates and other indicators of patient safety in Ontario hospitals through a new website.

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