The top five significant benefits of preventing falls in hospitals and assisted living care...
Increase Staff Retention in Nursing Homes| Written by: Eunice Yang, PhD.
Using Fall Prevention Devices to Increase Staff Retention in Nursing Homes
Retaining high-quality staff is a challenge for every industry. Staffing shortages are especially prevalent in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, where the average turnover rate among nursing staff is over 50% annually. These well-above-average turnover rates impact not only care delivery and the health outcomes of residents but, ultimately, the bottom line of nursing facilities.
The good news is that there are strategies and interventions that can simultaneously address two critical challenges in long-term care facilities: resident safety and staff retention. In this blog, we’ll explore how nursing facilities can leverage fall prevention devices to increase staff retention in nursing homes and improve the lives of residents.
The Costs of High Staff Turnover
Inadequate staffing has long plagued long-term care facilities. When a facility struggles to find and retain quality nursing staff, the costs are compounding. Limited staffing resources significantly compromise care quality and increase the likelihood of costly adverse events like medication errors, falls, and infections. Consequently, understaffed facilities often experience lower CMS quality ratings and reduced resident satisfaction, further exacerbating the staffing challenges they face.
Residents in nursing facilities rely on their caregivers to keep them safe. Unfortunately, high staff turnover can severely compromise the quality of care provided. A recent study examining over 13,000 unique nursing home facilities revealed a direct correlation between frequent changes in nursing staff and decreased quality of care.
Moreover, facilities with staff turnover rates above 50% have also been shown to have a 1.5 times higher rate of resident abuse. The COVID-19 pandemic also shed light on the role staffing plays in keeping residents safe, with rates of infection reaching all-time highs – 75 percent or more – in nursing facilities in 2020.
Cost of Care
Staff turnover has substantial direct and indirect financial costs for nursing homes. The need for temporary staff and overtime pay to fill gaps due to turnover can drive up labor costs. Beyond the direct expenses related to recruitment and hiring, facilities often incur additional indirect costs due to inadequate staffing. For example, when staff shortages increase the likelihood of adverse events like falls or medication errors, facilities are more likely to pay for hospitalizations, rehabilitation, and potential litigation expenses.
Facility Quality Ratings
Staffing levels and resident safety heavily contribute to a facility's overall score in CMS quality ratings. High staff turnover rates can significantly undermine these ratings, affecting not only a facility's reputation and enrollments but also government funding and reimbursements.
The CMS Five-Star Quality Rating System rigorously evaluates facilities across three domains: Health Inspections, Quality Measures, and Staffing. When a facility struggles to maintain sufficient clinical staffing levels, it receives lower scores in the staffing domain. These low staffing ratings jeopardize a facility’s star rating, government support, and overall standing within the elder care community.
Although resident satisfaction is not a direct measure of quality within nursing facilities, it does play a pivotal role in building trust among residents and retaining a positive public perception. High staff turnover disrupts the continuity and quality of care, often leading to reduced engagement and a diminished sense of well-being among residents. These disruptions can also impact the consistent implementation of safety interventions, like fall prevention strategies, which can further hinder care delivery and resident well-being.
Staff Job Satisfaction
Research consistently shows that high turnover rates lead to increased stress levels, reduced engagement, heavier workloads, and diminished job satisfaction among remaining employees. Moreover, turnover and staffing shortages create challenges for nurses and other staff members in delivering adequate care to residents. Understaffed facilities are more prone to adverse events like falls, negatively impacting staff workloads and stress levels. In contrast, facilities where employees report higher job satisfaction tend to have lower rates of resident injuries and higher levels of resident satisfaction with the care provided.
The interplay between staff turnover and resident safety underscores the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to address these two critical issues. In the next section, we’ll explore how implementing interventions and strategies, like wearable fall prevention devices, can positively impact the lives of both residents and staff.
Increasing Resident Safety and Staff Retention with Technology Solutions
Today, professional care settings are increasingly utilizing innovative technology to enhance resident safety and reduce staff burnout. Among these solutions has been the adoption of fall detection devices. Since the late 1980s, these fall detection devices have been a staple in eldercare, helping older adults access immediate assistance during a fall or medical emergency.
Today, these devices have evolved to offer additional features. Modern fall detection devices have enhanced features like video monitoring, impact-based fall detection, and two-way communication capabilities. While these devices improve health outcomes for older adults, there are limitations and drawbacks.
The Limitations and Drawbacks of Fall Detection Systems
Despite their advantages, fall detection systems have limitations, with the most significant being their inability to prevent falls from occurring. During an emergency, the wearer has to call for help or push a button for assistance, which can be problematic when considering that a fall victim may become unconscious or unable to move due to an injury.
Another limitation is their reliance on impact-based sensors. These sensors often have difficulty accurately detecting falls, especially if a fall is slow or gradual. These devices may also mistake non-fall movements, such as bending over or sudden gestures, as falls, triggering unnecessary alerts and stress among staff.
The Next Generation of Fall Prevention: AI-Powered Fall Mitigation
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize the way we handle and mitigate fall risks, empowering healthcare professionals to safeguard the well-being of older adults with fewer time-consuming and labor-intensive practices.
OK2StandUP is the first-of-its-kind AI-powered fall mitigation system designed to redefine fall prevention. This discreet, wearable device takes fall detection one step further by utilizing advanced algorithms and real-time monitoring to predict and prevent potential falls.
The device enables organizations to enhance care quality by providing smart, efficient, and timely care before a fall occurs. Even better, this innovative system easily integrates into existing workflows to reduce the burden of care on an already short-staffed unit.
How AI-Powered Fall Mitigation Works
- Measure: OK2StandUP monitors an adult’s physical movements 24/7 via a monitor on the wearer’s chest and transmits data to a smartphone app.
- Predict: Using AI to analyze the data collected, the system can accurately predict when a wearer intends to get up from a supine or seated position.
- Act: Caregivers receive real-time alerts when the system detects a change in activity, allowing them to intervene before it’s too late.
How It Benefits Caregivers
- Real-time, data-driven insights: AI provides caregivers valuable information about residents' activities and potential risks, helping them eliminate the guesswork and make informed, data-driven decisions.
- Fewer false alarms: AI reduces the occurrence of false alarms, minimizing unnecessary disruptions and improving the overall quality of care.
- Alleviate stress: Caregivers can confidently address fall risks and provide timely assistance, reducing stress and uncertainty.
- Gain peace of mind: With AI-powered fall mitigation systems like OK2StandUP, caregivers gain invaluable peace of mind, knowing that their device is helping keep their patients and loved ones safe from preventable accidents.
By pairing wearable devices like OK2StandUP with other fall prevention strategies like environmental modifications and exercise programs, long-term care facilities can proactively address increasing staffing challenges and rates of falls within their facilities.
The Benefits Extend Beyond Fall Prevention
Incorporating AI technology into fall prevention measures not only addresses the limitations of traditional fall detection systems but also offers many additional benefits.
Increased Staff Retention
Al-powered fall prevention solutions provide much-needed staff support, lessening the stress and workload of delivering care. As a result, staff are less likely to spend their days handling fall-related incidents or false alarms. Fewer incidents create a more positive and predictable work environment, ultimately fostering higher staff job satisfaction and retention rates.
Higher Resident Satisfaction
Residents also benefit from new technology, like fall prevention devices. Knowing they are being monitored and cared for 24/7 boosts residents’ confidence in the facility and improves their experience with nursing staff. Fall prevention devices can also empower individuals to take control of their health and make more informed decisions about their movements.
Long-Term Cost Savings
By integrating fall prevention systems like OK2StandUP into your caregiving team's workflow, facilities can significantly reduce the costs associated with falls and staff turnover.
Reducing the number of falls and fall-related injuries leads to direct cost savings by minimizing expenses associated with hospitalizations, rehabilitation, and potential move-outs. Additionally, increased staff job satisfaction can reduce costs associated with staff turnover.
Higher CMS Quality Ratings
Long-term care facilities with fewer fall incidents and enhanced resident safety measures are more likely to receive higher CMS quality ratings. These improved ratings can positively impact the facility's reputation and funding allocations.
Integrating AI-powered fall prevention technology into eldercare practices goes beyond addressing immediate safety concerns. It creates a more sustainable and positive care environment, benefiting residents and staff while contributing to long-term cost savings and the longevity of care facilities nationwide. Learn more about OK2StandUP and how our innovative fall prevention devices can benefit your care organization.