FALL RISK ASSESSMENT

Patient Moves Across Stepscan System Observed by Clinician

Today's Healthcare Challenge

According to the United States Census Bureau and Statistics Canada, 30.5 percent of North Americans are over the age of 55 and by 2030, one in every five Americans will be over the of age 65. That's almost 82 million individuals who will require senior healthcare services in the next decade.

We are witnessing an unprecedented demographic shift.

Since the advent of modern medicine, medical advancements have allowed people to live longer, healthier lives, increasing the global population. With aging Baby Boomers, today's healthcare system is facing a rapidly growing senior population.

Why Accidental Falls Are a Real Concern

As people age, mobility issues become a concern, compounded by risk factors such as lower body weakness, vitamin D deficiency, medication, vision and inner-ear problems, poor footwear, as well as gait and balance problems.

More than half of North American seniors experience a fall each year, leading to 2.8 million hospital visits and 800,000 hospitalizations and resulting in decreased quality of life and increased costs for healthcare providers.

Did you know?

Effective October 1, 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) no longer pays for health care costs associated with falls that occurred during hospitalization, deeming them “events that should never occur during hospitalization.”

Healthcare organizations absorb millions of dollars of fall-related expenses as operating costs every year.

Accidental falls cost North American nursing homes an average of $6,259 per fall. That adds up to an average cost of $620 thousand dollars a year.

The numbers for hospitals are equally alarming, with the average North American hospital spending $1.2 million annually on accidental falls (or $13,316 per fall).

Consider also the legal cost of accidental falls since both premises liability and medical negligence theory dictate that senior care facilities are liable for falls on their property. Failure to account for residents’ fall risk could also be against state or provincial regulations, in addition to contradicting the facilities’ own protocols for guarding against resident falls.

Of course, it is not just the financial costs of accidental falls that is  so alarming.

Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injures for older Americans. 30 percent of falls result in a serious injury, and every year 27,000 deaths are attributed to fall incidents.

With the senior population only growing, the challenge of accidental falls will too.

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Why Current Fall Management Programs are Failing

Our healthcare system tries to address the challenges of accidental falls. 100 percent of hospitals and senior care facilities have fall management programs in place and perform fall risk and frailty assessments. Yet, accidental falls continue to be a persistent problem.

It is apparent that the status quo of subjective surveys— the Rockwood Frailty Scale, the Morse Fall Scale, or the Burg Balance Score— is not effective.

Our current healthcare environment demands better— an objective way of identifying patients who are at a high risk of falling.

A Modern Solution: Fall Management Technology

The World Health Organization defines effective fall prevention programs as those that aim to reduce the number of people who fall, the rate of falls and the severity of injury should a fall occur.

A major challenge of preventing falls is that it is hard to be certain who is at immediate risk of falling. Patients may not know their risk factors and cannot always perceive that they are at risk. It becomes the healthcare facilities' responsibility to gauge risk.

Evidence based research shows that gait speed and symmetry, harmonic ratio, postural sway, and peak underfoot pressures can all indicate a patient’s fall risk.

Modern technology, capable of measuring these parameters, has been designed specifically to help bring fall risk assessment into the 21st century.

Combat boots on four-tile Stepscan Platform System

A technological solution to accidental falls can offer quick, unobtrusive assessments, presenting data in easy-to-interpret reports. The result? Clinicians save time and patients' fall risk is objectively measured.

From baseline reports, clinicians can confidently make objective decisions regarding appropriate interventions and care plans.

A technological solution can also make it convenient for patients to be reassessed regularly to ensure accurate, seamless, long-term patient records.

With such a solution clearly identifying high-risk fallers, the prevalence of accidental falls can drop, resulting in positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

This technology is a reality. Your fall risk solution is here.

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The Stepscan Solution | Modernizing Fall-Risk Prevention

Stepscan® is a state-of-the-art computerized mobility assessment technology. Through the use of an innovative electronic, modular floor tile system with proprietary software, Stepscan’s technology tracks patterns in gait and balance as subjects move across the floor.

Used as a mobility assessment tool, Stepscan measures and tracks irregularities in foot pressure, stride, speed, sway and progress line. The system produces a Stability Score, quickly determining baseline measures and level of impairment, and easily identifying patients who are at high risk for falling.

Screening and monitoring using the Stepscan system can be used in conjunction with already established fall risk intervention strategies, can demonstrate duty of care in ensuring patient safety and well-being, and can reduce the number of falls within your facility.

If you are looking for a modern fall risk strategy to enhance the quality of your operation as it relates to patient safety and to increase the quality of patient care in your facility, Stepscan can help you.

Clinician Helps Patient Perform Treatment Exercise

Stepscan is Efficient

Stepscan's patient-centric design allows for unobtrusive assessments and a positive patient experience. Patients can be assessed in shoes or barefoot. Seamless data collection and automated, easy-to-interpret reports create significant time efficiencies for clinicians.

"With the Stepscan system I can complete a postural assessment and functional movement screen in just 15 minutes."

Marc MacDonald, PT at Reactive Health Physiotherapy

Stepscan is Objective

The Stepscan mobility assessment tool is capable of measuring and tracking irregularities in gait and balance, allowing healthcare facilities to easily and quickly identify residents who are at high risk for falling. These measurements are objective, providing a single fall-risk estimate (0-100 percent risk) of the potential for falling in the next year.

Stepscan’s parameters are based on evidence-based, peer-reviewed journals. These objective measures provide reliable information about a patients’ mobility, supporting treatment plan decisions and encouraging patient compliance.

Stepscan is Accurate

Literature published in peer-reviewed journals has highlighted deficiencies in existing competitive gait analysis systems, citing that the inability to obtain repeatable, accurate measures makes them unsuitable for clinical settings.

Stepscan® is the first system that was designed and produced to meet the International Foot and Ankle Biomechanics group (i-FAB) recommendations made in response to the shortfalls of other technologies. Stepscan® is also one of only two pressure measurement devices worldwide, and the only one in North America, that meets these technical performance standards.

This means that the pressure sensors used in the floor tiles are highly accurate and the data collected is incredibly detailed.

Stepscan is Reputable

Stepscan® is a reputable product, registered with Health Canada, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration. Because of its unobtrusive, low-risk assessments (including ramps on and off the platform, non-slip tile surface, and wide measurement area), Stepscan is classified as a Class I Medical Device.

For users that have opted in, patient profiles and mobility data are collected into a HIPAA-compliant database.

Paatient moves across gait anaylsis platform accompanied by clinician

Ready to learn more?

Check out these links to explore Stepscan's fall risk solution.

The Stepscan System

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References & Resources

United States Census Bureau - ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Important Facts About Falls
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - STEADI Fact Sheet: Risk Factors for Falls
American College of Preventive Medicine & National Council on Aging - Older Adult Falls in the US Fact Sheet
Nursing Home Abuse Guide - Nursing Home Falls and Fractures
World Health Organization - Falls
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - History of Smallpox