The Stepscan Gait Analysis System is first, and foremost, a measurement tool. Stepscan tracks and analyses the mobility (gait and balance) of a subject as they move across the tiles.
In a clinical setting, that means the Stepscan System can be used for concussion assessment, for diabetic foot monitoring, and for mobility assessments to evaluate treatment efficacy. You can read more about how the Stepscan System can help clinicians diversify their services and improve the quality of care in our previous blog entry.
But what about in elder care? How can Stepscan help promote senior wellness?
Since gait and balance are essential to activities of daily life, physical performance is linked to fall-risk and quality of life as we age. Current research highlights the following five measurements as key performance indicators (KPIs) for aging adults:
- Gait velocity (walking speed)
- Gait rhythm (symmetry/asymmetry of temporal measurements of gait)
- Gait pressures (underfoot pressures while walking)
- Gait variability (symmetry/asymmetry of spatial measurements of gait)
- Postural sway (a measure of balance; how far someone sways/shifts as they stand)
Weakness and irregularities in individuals' walking/balance can contribute to accidental falls. Falls are a leading cause of injury and death for seniors, impacting their quality of life and ability to age in place.
Falls are also a major concern for the senior wellness industry. An average 100-bed senior-care home reports between 100-200 falls per year and the average annual cost of accidental falls in a nursing home is $620 thousand ($6,259/per resident per fall).
Not only do falls negatively impact organizations’ operational costs and liability exposure, but they also affect residents’ quality of life. Therefore, senior care facilities are under great pressure to address the issue of accidental falls.
Objective Fall Risk Assessment and Monitoring
Stepscan is uniquely positioned to help senior care facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes, reduce costs and liability exposure due to accidental falls by providing a computerized fall-risk monitoring system.
Changes to our gait and balance are often subtle and gradual— easily missed during visual assessments and unnoticed by individuals when answering fall-risk screening questions. The Stepscan System, by comparison, is a highly sensitive platform, able to perceive even minute shifts and represent individuals’ fall-risk status in an objective, aggregate Mobility/Stability Score.
Early identification of residents who are at an increased risk of falling gives senior care facilities more time to implement mitigation strategies (assistive devices, therapies for strengthening, etc.). Ultimately, this should result in a reduction in the number of falls in a facility. Fewer falls means reduced operating costs and less liability exposure, quickly providing a return on investment.
However, those are not the only benefits of modernizing senior care with the Stepscan System.
Increased Quality of Evidence-Based Care
Long-term monitoring with the Stepscan System opens the door to the development of individualized, evidence-based care plans for seniors. Objective measurements from computerized assessments provide a track record of a patient’s physical performance and support preventative, rather than reactive, treatment.
Once an irregularity is identified, whether in an individual’s balance or gait, healthcare professionals can be brought in to strengthen residents and improve their physical performance. Referrals may also be made for additional services such as vision care of hearing tests to further support healthy aging.
With one investment, the Stepscan platform provides senior care homes with the ability to reduce costs and liability exposure while increasing quality of care and enhancing brand reputation. The incorporation of Stepscan data into senior care plans gives senior care facilities a competitive advantage by demonstrating their duty of care by minimizing fall risk, encouraging a holistic approach to senior care, and increasing the overall quality of care provided.
Mobility is the litmus test for healthy aging and Stepscan presents an active investment opportunity to improve outcomes for both seniors and senior care facilities.
Are you ready to learn more? Watch our quick-demo Mobility Assessment video or schedule a time to discuss Stepscan Mobility Assessments with a member of our Product Specialist team.
Fall prevention is a shared responsibility. The Canadian organization Fall Prevention Month is on a mission to inspire everyone to do their part. Learn more about how you can reduce the impact of falls in your community on their website.