Fall Prevention Series: How Merrill Gardens Reduced ER Visits and Increased Move Ins

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With National Fall Awareness Week right around the corner (Sept. 21-25), this is a great opportunity to take a closer look at memory care communities that are tackling the issue of resident falls head-on and achieving real results.

Merrill Gardens, which currently has 67 communities in 20 states, is a great example of an innovative senior living provider at the forefront of providing a safe environment for its residents. The company teamed up with SafelyYou on a pilot program to reduce falls, keep residents out of the Emergency Room, and give family members peace of mind.

Using AI for Resident Safety

The two-month pilot took place from September to November 2019 in two of Merrill Gardens’ senior living communities in California — Gilroy and Santa Maria.

At the beginning of the pilot program, SafelyYou installed its 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.

Making a Big Impact with an Invisible Safety Net

With 69% of residents participating in the pilot program, Merrill Gardens wanted to achieve specific goals. For instance, it wanted care staff to respond to a resident on the ground within an average of 10 minutes. With the aid of SafelyYou’s technology, the average time to assist was only five minutes. Another important goal was to have a resident on the ground for an average of 25 minutes after falling. The average time on the ground was 15 minutes. In addition, the pilot found that 63% of residents who were found on the ground did not have an injury. 

Preventing Future Falls

Videos also revealed that 39% of fall detections showed residents intentionally lowering themselves to the ground. This is a valuable observation because it provides an opportunity for the care staff to intervene and reduce the risk of true falls in the future because they can determine:

  • What caused residents to go to the ground
  • Where residents fell versus where they were found
  • When the event happened as opposed to when the resident was found
  • Why residents got up in the first place
  • How mobility aids used may present a risk factor

The technology is helping Merrill Gardens improve staff training by teaching the proper way to lift a resident from the ground and ensuring all fall protocols are followed. This goes a long way in avoiding further injury to both residents and staff members, which reduces workers’ compensation.

For in-depth details on Merrill Gardens’ pilot program, download the whitepaper.