Social connectedness profoundly impacts quality of life and wellbeing for residents in skilled nursing and senior living facilities. However, many residents go without social visits, and this leads to a number of other issues such as social isolation, depression, and mental health decline.
Whether it’s the fear and guilt of witnessing a loved one age or logistical challenges that prevent a visit, it’s impossible to force social visits from family and friends. As a result, many residents depend on facility Life Enrichment Teams to stay engaged, feel seen, and create social connectedness. While the effort and emphasis to increase resident social support are never lacking, resources and solutions to effectively manage it are needed.
We are excited to introduce a new initiative, Project Love Meter, powered by Accushield, to identify and reduce the risk of social isolation. In this post, we are going to discuss social isolation, and how Project Love Meter can help make a difference in the lives of thousands of people across the nation.
Together, we can make change happen, one resident at a time.
What is Social Isolation?
Social isolation is defined as a severe lack of personal interaction or engagement with others.
It is important to understand the gravity of this issue, and its long-term effect on physical and mental health. Studies have shown a direct correlation between social isolation and other health risks including dementia, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, cognitive decline, and depression. In other words, those who suffer from social isolation have a much higher risk of developing other physical health problems. In fact, a recent report by the CDC indicates loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.
Mental health matters, and it is important to ensure that your residents never feel alone or suffer from the physical effects of loneliness or social isolation.
Combat Social Isolation with Visitor Management Technology
Senior and skilled nursing facilities often refer to the clinical chart to manage resident needs and implement the same processes used for decades. However, those outdated processes are creating more risk today than ever before, and it is causing a shift in the industry to visitor management technology.
That’s why Accushield’s Love Meter solution is gaining popularity. Visitor management technology provides new insights and analytics on which residents have gone without a visitor for weeks or even months, which can dramatically reduce the risks of social isolation and depression. By leveraging the power of visitor data, providers can now quickly and easily identify residents at risk of social isolation without combing through stacks of paper-based log books.
“We’ve been able to capture a lot of valuable data about how often visitors come. The Love Meter feature tells you who hasn’t had a visitor. I now use the platform to calculate how many visitors each resident has had. For anyone who hasn’t had a recent visitor, I report that to our activities department and/or our social services department to determine if they qualify for a volunteer, if they need more one-on-one, or if we can get them more involved in more activities. And so we’ve used much more for feedback and social interaction for our residents.”
-Tonya Loftin, Director of Quality at West Meade Place in Nashville, Tennessee
Introducing Project Love Meter
An initiative to identify and reduce the risks of resident social isolation
At Accushield, identifying a problem simply isn’t enough. With over 100 years of direct long-term post-acute care experience in our organization, we realize the importance of enabling our customers with solutions that identify and help solve common industry pain points. That’s why we’re working with providers to leverage the Accushield Volunteer Network to increase social visits with at-risk residents.
Often the unsung heroes of our industry, volunteers help skilled nursing and senior living providers create social connectedness with residents, and the benefits don’t stop there. The downstream impact to skilled nursing facilities is significant from increased quality measures, 5-star ratings, support for life enrichment teams, and peace of mind created for loved ones.
We want to hear from you!
Do you have any feedback or ideas to help identify and reduce social isolation?
Reach out to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org
Accushield is a healthcare technology company. Our onsite hardware and software provide visitor/staff management, infection prevention and control, and health/safety compliance via automation and reporting.