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Removing the ‘What If’ – Reassurance after a Fall

Residential Nurse Alert to the Rescue

Medication errors can contribute to falling.When you take medication to improve your health, it can also alter how your body feels, behaves, and reacts. It can be difficult to determine whether an effect is commonplace or worrisome, or at what point to seek medical attention. Although side effects are normal and often manageable, the ‘What if?’ factor can urge us to err on the side of caution, possibly leading to an emergency room visit or hospital admission. When an unexpected occurrence like a fall enters the mix, sometimes our confidence can be shaken, leaving us unsure of how to proceed.

One Residential Home Health patient recently experienced such a moment of doubt, but she didn’t have to wonder or worry. Read on to learn how the Residential Nurse Alert connection provided immediate answers to a pressing medication question.

An unusual reaction

The patient, an 89-year-old woman with Parkinson’s disease, was scheduled to start a new round of therapy with Residential Home Health the following day — but the concern couldn’t wait. She had suffered a fall from her bed, and developed a large bruise and a raised lump. Any fall in the home is a cause of alarm, but there was a further issue: this bruise was dark purple in color. Because the patient’s current drug regimen included a blood thinner, she was concerned that the bruise’s extent and intensity were suggestive of a larger problem.

Fortunately, this patient had a Residential Nurse Alert personal emergency response system, exclusive to Residential Home Health. She had received the unit a few months prior, during a previous course of home care, and enjoyed the peace of mind Residential’s unique Anytime – Anywhere – Anything coverage offered. After the conclusion of her free 60-day trial, the patient kept the unit, so her daughter was able to push the call button and connect with Residential Home Health when questions arose about her mother’s fall and the dangers of blood thinners — even before the new plan of care had officially began.

Assessing the situation

While speaking with the patient’s daughter, the Residential Home Health triage nurse was able to quickly get a sense of the family’s main concern — that the large bruise, paired with blood thinner medication, signaled a serious health risk. To address this, the nurse began asking questions:

  • Was the bruise continuing to grow in size?
  • Was the patient in pain?
  • Was the patient having difficulty walking?

The patient and her daughter answered that none of these were the case, at which point the triage nurse reassured them that the bruise did not warrant emergency attention. Instead, the nurse advised the patient’s daughter to apply ice and continue monitoring the site of the bruise — watching for any changes, increased pain, or tenderness. If those or any other issues arose, the triage nurse assured, the Residential Nurse Alert team would be ready and available to provide immediate assistance.

Crisis averted

Without Residential Nurse Alert, the uncertainties surrounding this minor fall would have likely resulted in a hospital admission — as falls in the home represent the leading cause of hospitalization. Instead, the patient was able to remain comfortably and confidently at home, ready to welcome her Residential Care Team and gain the strength and independence to help her stay there.

While this patient used Residential Nurse Alert for a question related to her 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

For Residential Home Health patients, Residential Nurse Alert provides 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.