It’s well-known within healthcare circles that falls – especially those experienced by older adults – can be costly to individuals as well as care facilities.
Despite this, one recent survey of more than 400 senior care facility executives revealed some numbers that may still surprise you.
Based on responses from those interviewed for this 2022 survey, researchers determined that assisted living facilities (ALFs) pay an average of $313,000 per year (more than $5,000 per incident) in costs related to resident falls.1
In addition, the survey found that falls negatively affect staffing, a top challenge for executives in the ALF space. Specifically, 85% of responding executives said falls have significantly impacted staff turnover.2
Fortunately, though, there’s a silver lining.
By developing and embracing fall mitigation efforts – by offering rehab therapy services in-house or through a contract therapy provider, for example – assisted living communities can vastly reduce the costs and staffing issues related to falls.
In addition, these senior communities can also set themselves apart within a market where, today, two-thirds of all prospective residents and their families ask about fall mitigation strategies.3
How Do Falls Impact Seniors and Their Communities?
On an industry-wide scale, the impact of falls is extraordinary.
Across the U.S. healthcare system, falls account for around $50 billion dollars in medical costs each year.4 The issue is so vast that falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in seniors, affecting one-quarter of all older adults annually.5
The numbers, however, only tell part of the story.
Just the potential of experiencing falls makes some seniors reluctant to move and exercise in ways that could improve strength, flexibility and stamina, potentially compounding the problem.
One study, in fact, concluded that 19% of all adults 71 years and older avoided activities that may be beneficial for their own wellness simply based on the fear of falling. For residents, this can lead to higher levels of anxiety and general dissatisfaction with the facility.6
For the facilities themselves? Residents who fall require more attention and higher levels of care, leading to increased costs and potential staffing challenges. Additionally, around one in every seven fall victims ends up moving from their senior communities.7
Fall Prevention Through Rehab Therapy
Rehab therapists, of course – specifically physical and occupational therapists – are adept at helping people of all ages prevent falls.
These efforts include assessing fall risks, addressing underlying medical conditions that may increase the risk of a fall, and establishing personalized wellness plans (i.e., strength, balance and flexibility exercises) that can reduce falls.
In general, rehab therapy offers individualized and comprehensive approaches to fall prevention. Considering the fall statistics mentioned above, these services offer a solution to assisted living facilities struggling with the consequences of resident falls.
And, not only can making rehab therapy a part of your facility’s overall commitment to resident fall prevention improve revenue and reduce staff turnover, but it can also set you apart from other ALFs in your market.
Of senior living executives who participated in the survey above, 60% said fall reduction would give them a point of differentiation within their markets.8
Offer Rehab Therapy in Your Assisted Living Facility
Most assisted living facilities that offer rehab therapy services to their residents do so in one of two ways: they operate an in-house team, or they contract with a rehab therapy service provider.
But regardless of who manages the team, we at Net Health strive to help ensure the department or independent therapy staffing agency remains efficient, profitable and focused on what matters most: resident health and independence.
We do this by offering Net Health Therapy for Senior Living, an industry-leading EHR solution that enhances continuity of care across both ALF and SNF environments.
By offering seamless operational, clinical and billing workflows used by more than 16,000 locations, our comprehensive solution promotes superior efficiency, smoother care transitions, better patient outcomes and optimal profitability.
To learn more about how Net Health Therapy for Senior Living can help your rehab therapy team do more with less, contact us today to schedule a demo.
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1 2 3 7 8 The State of Falls 2022, “From Crisis to Opportunity: Coming Together for Transformative Change”
4 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, “Medical Costs of Fatal and Nonfatal Falls in Older Adults,” March 7, 2018
5 National Council on Aging, “Get the Facts on Falls Prevention,” July 21, 2022
6 Journal of Gerontology, “Fear of Falling and Fall-Related Efficacy in Relationships to Functioning Among Community-Living Elders,” May 1, 1994