31Oct2016

4 Tips for Ensuring Senior Safety at Your Community

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When seniors and their families make the decision to move into a senior living community, they are putting the important responsibility of safety in your hands. Of course, safety should always be the number one priority at communities, as it’s a requirement to follow state and federal guidelines. But what about the topic of safety day-to-day? There are four key actions you can take now to ensure that safety is synonymous with your brand.

1. Revisit and Revise your Safety Plan

Your community should already have a safety preparedness plan in place. If it doesn’t, several examples are available online including this one from Argentum (formerly known as ALFA – The Assisted Living Federation of America). Plans like this include details on evacuating a community, sheltering in place during a crisis, and managing the stress that comes with emergencies. According to Argentum, “responding to a crisis can be one of the most challenging situations you will face as the leader or executive director of a senior living community.”

2. Make Risk-awareness Routine

Every senior living community strives to remain up to code with state-mandated guidelines and strict Federal OSHA standards. But when it comes to safety expectations from a prospective resident’s point-of-view, that is the bare minimum. Because safety risks aren’t always set in stone, it is necessary to keep the door open for new information and education about safety. Just when you think you have every prevention policy in place (fall prevention, fire and flood safety, personal security), something new can present itself.

Ensuring that you and your staff have a routine for learning about new senior living related safety risks is vital. Besides having a system for recording risks as they are reported, you can also subscribe to safety reports provided by insurance companies who deal with the financial consequences of risk every day.

3. Digitize and Mobilize Processes

Interconnectedness is key. Though privacy and independence is important to seniors, digital technology is creating necessary, transparent connections between staff, residents, and family members. This allows critical personal, medical, and procedural information to be accessed by the right people, at the right time. Many communities are integrating wireless nurse call systems and wireless pendants as a means for staff to discretely track a resident’s daily activity patterns and monitor medical needs in real-time.

In a 2014 InformationWeek article highlighting the successes of wireless technology in senior living communities, a senior director of infrastructure confirmed the improvements technology has had on risk reduction in his own community, “we wanted to make sure our people were mobile, and the apps we were looking at wouldn’t tie people to a computer in a hallway somewhere. People who are mobile provide a much better level of care.”

4. Make safety part of your business philosophy

What is your community’s mission statement? Safety becomes ingrained in your community when it becomes more than just a safety inspection on the calendar or a stressful event that you anticipate. Accidents, natural disasters, or human error are unavoidable.

But when you incorporate the concept of “safety” into every element of your business planning, resident management, and employee training, it becomes more than just part of a checklist. Safety becomes part of the experience you want to create to differentiate you from other communities and help you become the community of choice for your customers.

Is your community looking for ways to strengthen resident safety with emergency call systems? Learn more about what tech aware seniors mean for your community and find out about how our services help modernize and streamline your senior living technology.

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