Fall Prevention Series: How to Develop an Effective Fall Huddle Program

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As we lead up to National Fall Awareness Week (Sept. 21-25, 2020), it is the perfect time to talk about an important issue for all senior housing providers: How to address the issue of unwitnessed falls.  

This is a common yet challenging concern since 70% of falls occur in a resident’s bedroom and 80-90% of these falls are unwitnessed, reveals SafelyYou’s community data. The problem can be addressed with an effective fall huddle program, which includes a brief meeting at the fall scene followed by a larger, community meeting held weekly. The staff reviews the fall documentation, examines the root-cause, and determines action items to prevent future falls.

Fall Huddle Best Practices

A fall huddle meeting may sound straightforward on the surface, but it is definitely worth taking the time to review a few best practices so you can develop a truly effective program:

Importance of Video Review

  • Nothing beats seeing something with your own eyes. Communities can install SafelyYou’s artificial intelligence-enabled camera technology, which detects a fall by analyzing the video feed from cameras placed in a resident’s room, stores video only when a fall is detected and sends alerts when a fall occurs. Video of the fall is available immediately to care staff through a secure web platform, which also can be used to support conversations with the family as well as Emergency Medical Services about the need for an ER visit.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fall Huddles

  • Fall Scene Investigation: Train staff to confirm the location of mobility aid and position of bed at the fall scene. Staff should assess the resident’s clothing and environmental triggers and also check to see if the furniture is hazardous and if the door was propped open.
  • Review incident documentation: Assess last known activity, time of last wellness check and intrinsic/extrinsic factors, injury details, medical condition, photo of the fall scene and prior fall history.
  • Determine root cause: Assess the environment or equipment related to the fall; review current medication and interview notes from care staff communication. Verify that prior fall prevention/risk interventions were in place and determine if the care plan is appropriate, was recently updated and followed.

Elements of Getting an Effective Fall Huddle Programs Up and Running

  • Establish a framework and fall documentation requirements
  • Create a multi-disciplinary fall huddle team and define everyone’s role
  • Implement quality controls and accountability to ensure action items are completed

For a fall huddle to be productive and achieve real results, everyone on your team must play a role in the program. It fosters collaboration, makes your team stronger and gives them a road map to make decisions. And having a strong fall prevention program can easily be the deciding factor for a family member who is choosing a community for their loved one.

For a step-by-step guide to starting your own program, download the whitepaper, Best Practices for Developing an Effective Fall Huddle Program.

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