The CDC's STEADI Algorithm: Key Components
In an effort to reduce the occurrence and risks of falls, the CDC created the STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) Algorithm to assist providers on a framework using the most effective and "best practice" approach to patient care. In line with the CDC's initiative, the SAFE BALANCE program laid its process and foundation within this framework:
Screening is a process for evaluating the possible presence of a particular problem. The outcome is normally a simple yes or no.
Assessment is a process for defining the nature of that problem, determining a diagnosis, and developing specific treatment recommendations for addressing the problem or diagnosis.
Intervention is the act of altering the inevitable outcome or course especially of a condition or process, as to prevent harm or improve functioning.
How does your fall prevention program compare?
SCREENING for Fall Risk
Screening for risk is exactly that...a simple, quick and easy tool/survey/questionnaire/checklist to identify if ANY RISK is potentially present in a patient. This step acts as the first part of a successful Fall Prevention Program and assists program operators in delegating resources appropriately and justifiably.
Be aware! A screening tool in and of itself does not provide the vital diagnostic or differential information that is gathered in an assessment, which is generally more robust in nature and process! Additionally, coming up with an appropriate patient-centered intervention plan just from information provided from a screening has proved to be ineffective.
SAFE BALANCE incorporates a robust and evidence-based screening questionnaire created by the CDC as part of the program. This vital 12-question survey allows the provider to identify if a risk is present, and to explore further where needed. The screening component of the SAFE BALANCE program is built right into the software and is easily navigated by both staff and patients alike! The screening questionnaire results are also gathered into the SAFE BALANCE database allowing for further population examination in responses and trends!
A Multifactorial FALLS RISK ASSESSMENT
A multifactorial falls risk assessment aims to identify a person's individual risk factors for falling, quantify the severity of those risk factors, and also support a medical/functional diagnosis when appropriate. The multifactorial falls risk assessment not only is comprehensive in nature, it also extends to multiple areas of examination. Often times, a multifactorial falls risk assessment combines several tests and measures deemed valid and reliable by accredited sources.
Many clinicians or administrators have the misunderstanding that fall risk means only abnormal balance, or believe that a screening can yield concrete results. As evidence overwhelmingly supports, a patient's fall risk extends far beyond balance alone, which an assessment should examine some of the following critical areas:
Prior Fall History
Medications (BEERS Criteria)
Orthostatic Blood Pressure
With SAFE BALANCE, the assessment component runs an examination on all of the above, providing focused insight on a variety of critical risk areas. Despite the comprehensive data that is gathered, administering the SAFE BALANCE assessment is seamless and simple, following a straightforward step-by-step process that is often times completed during a patient's intake. By assessing these critical areas of risk collectively, you can be assured that you are gathering a comprehensive sample that other fall prevention programs lack.
A Patient-Centered Fall Prevention Plan
Screenings and Assessments require an Intervention component to offer any meaningful results to offset the risks identified. After all, gathering information is only just a fraction of the whole equation. So what do we do with this information and what is justified/appropriate based on the findings?
Ask yourself about other programs out there and where they fall in this "best-practice" process. Does the results tell you how to offset that specific risk? Does the tool identify whether a home exercise program or a referral to physical therapy is appropriate? Does the program act as a "one size fits all" intervention (such as a class or an app) without regard to who should/should not be receiving that intervention based on appropriateness?
Here are some highlights on the capabilities of the SAFE BALANCE software that other programs seemingly fall short:
Provides patient-specific intervention materials and educational videos
Identifies if physical therapy -or- home health services are justified/recommended
Offers insight into justification for further diagnostic tests/studies
Explores need for DME/AD to offset current risks in a compensatory/adaptive method
Provides vital safety recommendations for In-Hospital/ED/Facility stay -AND- Discharge Plans
Identifies need/justification for referrals to other healthcare disciplines/services
Objectively measures current risk factors, and tracks risks over time
SAFE BALANCE creates a focused, patient-centered care plan based upon the patient's current risk factors, severity of those risks, and generates meaningful educational materials/tools to assist their functional gains well after they leave the facility. With several discipline/setting-specific versions of the SAFE BALANCE program, each provides gainful insight on not only ways to keep the patient safe while under care in the building, but also ways to keep the patient safe well after discharge with home/community-based interventions and recommendations.
Additionally, subsequent reassessments in your clinic or across your healthcare system allows for comparative analytics on how the patient has progressed in mitigating risks based on previous findings.
SAFE BALANCE separates itself from other rote interventions, such as apps or classes, and instead focuses on the patient as an individual with individual needs based on their current circumstances and health. By addressing each risk factor directly, your patients benefit from an efficient management of fall risk leading to drastic reduction in fall occurrences!
A simple "click of a button" automatically compiles all of the screening/assessment data, and instantly generates your patient's care plan!
Help Your Patients be Fall-Free for a Lifetime!
Other programs appear to only offer a fraction of assistance for a moment in a patient's life. Specifically, they lack the technological capability or amount of meaningful information collected to offer long-term results while determining risk trends.
Is a patient's risk factors being mitigated? Are they increasing? What new ones are emerging?
Insight such as this has proven vital in caring for the patient and their needs through the course of their lifetime. Ask yourself in a moment of reflection on your current fall-prevention program if this is a capability that you can offer your patients to enhance the care provided by your clinic or system...
While the STEADI Algorithm provides a best-practice approach to keeping patient's fall-free with their 3-step process, SAFE BALANCE takes the program a step further with a comprehensive management capability.
Through a number of reports and functions, SAFE BALANCE creates meaningful visuals that allow the provider to quickly identify whether the patient's risks are increasing/decreasing and what new risk factors are emerging. With this powerful information, clear and concise management of the patient's overall condition can occur. Annual Wellness Visits, physicals, or specialty visits now have greater meaning and application on how to keep your patients operating at the highest levels of functional independence while under your care!