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Home Health Blog

Patient’s Wise Emergency Preparedness Enables Safer Aging in Place

Posted by Carolyn Harmer on Apr 7, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Residential Nurse Alert to the Rescue

To honor Parkinson’s Awareness Month this April, we bring you this story of a Residential Home Health patient who took a wise step to help manage his Parkinson’s at home.‘Aging in place’ refers to living safely and independently at home, without being relocated due to health complications. But in order to avoid a bigger change, seniors who wish to age in place need to remain open to smaller changes around the home for their own safety and peace of mind. This could mean adjusting a home lighting setup for better visibility, or making improvements to the bath or shower for continued ease of use.

A major component of aging in place is preventing and preparing for a fall. This is particularly important for patients with Parkinson’s disease, a progressive brain disorder that hinders a patient’s balance and mobility. About one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s, and there is currently no cure. To honor Parkinson’s Awareness Month this April, we bring you this story of a Residential Home Health patient who took a wise step to help manage his Parkinson’s at home.

A Sensible Precaution

The patient had received home health care from Residential Home Health to address his increasing Parkinson’s symptoms, which included an unsteady gait and a history of falling. At 64 years of age, he lived in a small one-story home with narrow hallways, and had found it difficult to use his sturdy rolling walker while navigating around the house, through doorways, and around furniture. Instead, the patient generally relied on a four-footed ‘quad cane’ to get around at home, using the walker only to go out for his regular dialysis appointments.

Based on his past fall history and current symptoms, the patient was well aware of his own fall risk, as well as of the dangers that falling can pose, especially while home alone. According to the CDC, falls in the home are responsible for millions of injuries and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations in older adults each year; in fact, they represent the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal home injuries. Therefore, in order to be fully prepared for the possibility of a fall, the patient wisely elected to use Residential Nurse Alert, the personal emergency response system offered through Residential Home Health. Keeping his Residential Nurse Alert button close at hand gave him greater confidence to continue living independently at home.

A Quick Boost

One evening, the patient was feeling the effects of a mild illness, possibly a cold. This alone was no cause for alarm, but it left him feeling a bit weaker than usual. While walking around the house in this state, the patient tripped over his own feet and fell down. He realized that he could not get up on his own, but there was no need to panic. Because he had prepared well for this possibility, his Residential Nurse Alert button was within reach and waiting to connect him with help.

Soon after pressing the button, the patient was speaking with a triage nurse, who was able to quickly dispatch a trained medical professional to his home. The clinician helped the patient get up slowly and safely, and assessed him for possible injuries. Fortunately, it appeared that no harm was done, and together the two decided that the patient did not need additional care or an emergency room visit.

Back to Normal

The quick and easy assistance of Residential Nurse Alert allowed this patient to get immediate help, get up safely without risking further injury, and avoid a possible hospitalization. Without it, he might not have been able to get right back to his normal routine.

A follow-up call the next morning found the patient at his scheduled dialysis appointment, proceeding as normal. Other than some stiffness, he had no complications after his fall and was on the mend. He was also grateful to be reminded that Residential Nurse Alert would be there for him any time, for any reason — he promised to reach out if he wanted more assistance. Above all, the patient said, he was very glad that he had Residential Nurse Alert to lean on when he needed it.

While this patient used Residential Nurse Alert to get immediate support after a fall, this exclusive mobile alert system can be used for any reason, day or night:

  • Emergency situations
  • Questions regarding hospital discharge instructions or medications
  • Help with scheduling physician appointments
  • Assistance with transportation
  • Questions for your primary care physician
  • Health concerns or any other reason

Residential Nurse Alert provides patients with Anytime-Anywhere-Anything access to their care team. Non-patients can also use the service to connect with Residential’s clinical team. In 2014, more than 300 probable hospital admissions were avoided with this system. For more information, click the link below, or call (888)930-WELL (9355) to speak with a nurse.

Residential Nurse Alert

Topics: Parkinson's Disease, Real World Stories, Aging In Place, Residential Nurse Alert