There has been a staggering 20% increase in falls for residents in memory care communities since social distancing and shelter and place orders went into effect. Depending on the specific restrictions in place around the country, many occupational therapists and other health care providers are not able to enter assisted living or memory care communities. Some doctors may be waiting on ordering physical therapy/occupational therapy for seniors living in these high-risk communities until the danger and national spotlight subsides.
Now more than ever, video review of falls can provide the opportunity to leverage OT expertise to make environmental and care plan changes to prevent repeat falls and improve resident safety.
How can occupational therapists assist care staff in memory care communities?
- Activities of daily living (ADLs): Assist with caregiver training to help residents participate in ADLs — eating, bathing, getting dressed, toileting, transferring, and continence —at the highest functional level.
- Resident Transfer status: Determine the safest transfer method for residents and care staff within the private room and shared spaces.
- Environmental design consultation: Determine the best furniture placement and environmental modifications while assessing residents’ ability to safely navigate within the private room and the community.
- Family Education: Help set realistic expectations and guide family through the rehab process.
- Staff in-servicing: Therapists should play an important role in ongoing care staff development and training.
- Ensure goals are appropriate for your resident: Ask what they are working on and collaborate.
We are currently developing an “Ask the OT” webinar to share data and suggestions for reducing falls during this unprecedented time. Some topics we are in the process of preparing are:
- Fall analytics and the impact of COVID-19
- Top misconceptions of unwitnessed fall events
- Improving resident safety and care planning during COVID-19
- Leveraging OTs for fall prevention
If you have questions to contribute, we would love to hear from you! You can register for the webinar here and submit your questions by following the link provided after registering.
To learn more about the in-depth “Ask the OT” conversation and reframe your understanding of fall events, please join us for a special SafelyYou webinar.