LeadingAge Illinois Annual Expo: Industry Trends and Risks that Impact Senior Care
The 2021 LeadingAge Illinois Annual Meeting & Expo highlighted key trends, industry updates, and best practices in senior care. Industry experts CC Andrews, Pamela Kramer, and Johnson Abraham breakdown significant takeaways from the expo and provided insight on critical issues facing aging services and how they impact your organization.
Risk Management: OSHA and COVID-19
In March 2021, OSHA created the National Emphasis Program (NEP) to protect employees in high-hazard industries from the threat of contracting COVID. NEP investigates and enforces policy in sectors identified as high-hazard, such as senior care communities. The organization monitors work-related illnesses based on the evidence available to the employer when an illness is determined. Training is recommended to manage COVID-related risks and ensure compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).
As the COVID vaccine becomes more widely available, it also poses a new risk to aging services and opens many questions for employers and employees. Critical questions include:
Can employers ask for vaccine status? Yes, employers can ask for vaccine status and documentation. Vaccine status is considered medical information and must be kept confidential.
Can employers mandate vaccination? Yes, however, they must allow accommodations for individuals with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs.
Can employers offer incentives for vaccination? Yes, so long as the incentive is not so substantial, it is coercive.
As with any risk, mitigation strategies can be implemented to keep your workers, residents, families, and facility safe and protected. Policies and procedures such as adequate personal protected equipment, facility screening, and diligent testing can reduce COVID-related risks in aging services.
Risk Management: Falls
Long-term care facilities are required to have trainings, person-centered care planning, and assessments in place to provide the best care to each resident. These requirements play a substantial role in fall prevention. Person-centered care planning allows care providers to examine an individual’s routine, identify potential gaps in care, and implement preventative measures. Evaluate fall risk by considering functional decline or severe medical conditions and external factors such as medication side effects and environmental conditions.
Assessments help your facility and staff understand current practices, identify risks, and implement interventions. Take a look at this step-by-step assessment to help prevent falls:
Step 1: Identify the Risk—Which residents are high-risk for falls?
Step 2: Create a Fall Prevention Plan—What interventions can minimize or prevent falls?
Step 3: Communicate with Staff—Discuss at-risk residents and formulate changes in care plans.
Step 4: Cause Analysis of Falls—Investigate the root cause of falls.
The key to managing fall-related risks is anticipating the fall and addressing it in the care plan. Documentation, intervention, and training are crucial to fall prevention and reducing fall-related risks.
Survey Success: Get Perspective
The annual LeadingAge Illinois Expo also addressed surveys and survey success. Insight from a legal perspective and a former surveyor’s perspective equips senior care facilities with insider information, ideas, and plans for a successful survey. Takeaways include:
- Always be prepared for a survey.
- Organized paperwork for compliance reviews, incident reports, staff licenses, and routine documentation is critical.
- Have a command central during surveys with escorts and runners.
- Properly educate staff, residents, and families about surveys.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) provides information for your long-term care or assisted living facility to stay in the know and prepare for your survey.
Visit our July Webinar for more insight and information about the 2021 LeadingAge Meeting & Expo takeaways.