Published on September 22, 2022

Use of smart mobility-aid attachments reduces fall rate by 39% at Essentia Health-Oak Crossing

Thanks to the implementation of fall-prevention technology, the Essentia Health-Oak Crossing skilled nursing and transitional care facility in Detroit Lakes reduces its fall rate by 39% over an eight-month period.

In August of 2021, smart mobility-aid attachments designed by WalkWise were adopted at Oak Crossing to collect data about the movements of 40 residents and monitor compliance with mobility aids, such as walkers. With the consent of these residents, therapy and nursing staff monitored individual data and were sent notifications for potential emergency situations or substantial changes in behavior.

While fall detection was a primary goal of these smart mobility-aid attachments, the data collected was also used to improve the timeliness of interventions such as therapy, care-plan changes and discussions around fall risk and mobility decline.

Overall, the innovative collaboration with WalkWise helped Oak Crossing enhance the care delivered to seniors in the skilled nursing setting.

“These smart mobility-aid attachments have been instrumental in keeping our residents safe and healthy,” said Jordan Bjorhus, director of rehabilitation at Essentia. “In addition to alerting our staff of serious falls, this technology prevented many accidents from occurring in the first place by collecting data that helped our care team determine when residents should be brought in for therapy or when their current care plan needed to be re-evaluated.”

The participating residents were selected across several divisions, including long-term care, transitional care and assisted living. Data was collected from January 2021 through March 2022, with the smart mobility-aid attachments being introduced in August of 2021. In the seven months prior to adopting this technology, there were an average of 10 falls per 1,000 resident days. In the eight months since adopting the technology, there were an average of 6.1 falls per 1,000 resident days.