St. Croix Hospice Launches Innovative Program to Combat Deadly Risk Facing 25% of Elderly Adults

Agency’s “Navigate: Falls Prevention Program” Takes Proactive Approach to Limiting Leading Cause of Injury

[OAKDALE, Minn.] MARCH 1, 2022 – St. Croix Hospice has proudly launched its sixth specialty care program: the Navigate: Falls Prevention Program. This new program will raise the bar of hospice care in the Midwest communities where the agency serves.

The innovative program was initiated in response to a significant public health concern among elderly adults: one out of four adults ages 65+ fall each year, resulting in roughly 32,000 deaths (CDC). “Elderly patients who fall have a much greater risk of death,” said Ashley Arnold, RN, Vice President of Clinical Services for St. Croix Hospice. “While the majority of our patients are elderly, falls are a concern for anyone on hospice, so we are excited to bring this prevention program to our patients as another way to provide them with expert care and the highest quality of life.”

The new Navigate: Falls Prevention Program lessens the risk of falls through proactive assessment of patients when they begin hospice care, to identify areas of concern, educate the patient and caregivers about fall prevention, and assist in setting up the patient’s living area to maximize safety. For those at high risk, certified physical and occupational therapists may assess living situations and patient mobility, then train patients and their caretakers on safe ways to move and actions to prevent falls.

The Navigate: Falls Prevention Program was piloted in 2021 by the St. Croix Hospice care team in North Branch, Minn. Patients cared for in both private homes and assisted living or nursing home facilities were automatically enrolled in the program as a part of their hospice care plan. “Families in the home really liked to have education from a qualified physical therapist,” said Katie Fritche, RN, Manager of Clinical Services and leader of the St. Croix Hospice North Branch team. “The facilities love it too because it offers more education for their staff. It’s one more thing we are doing to prevent falls.”

St. Croix Hospice has tracked fall risk in all their patients since 2013. During the Navigate: Falls Prevention Program pilot, Fritche saw fall numbers decrease by 25% over a three-month period at her branch. The North Branch hospice care team now discusses patient fall risk weekly with the physical therapists. “Adding this new piece truly improves the overall care plan for patients. The reduction in falls reduces the likelihood of ER visits or hospital stays and improves patient’s overall quality of life. The program provides additional support and peace of mind for family and facility caregivers,” said Fritche.

The program’s focus on proactive patient safety measures reinforces St. Croix Hospice’s commitment to safe, dignified, personalized hospice care. “This program is just one more way that St. Croix Hospice goes beyond basic traditional hospice care to identify innovative solutions to some of the most common issues that impact patients and their caregivers,” said Arnold. “We’re ensuring our patients have the highest quality of life and the best care possible.”

Currently, St. Croix Hospice’s 1,000+ employees serve nearly 2,800 patients and their families across the Midwest. The agency specializes exclusively in expert hospice care with a delivery model tailored to the unique needs of hospice patients and their families. Local multidisciplinary care teams live in the communities they serve and see patients wherever they call home, including private residences, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. St. Croix Hospice teams take pride in partnering with families and community providers to ensure a dignified end-of-life transition.

Hospice care provides quality of life for patients with a terminal diagnosis when a cure is no longer an option, focusing on comfort and dignity. St. Croix Hospice surrounds patients, families and caregivers with a team of compassionate experts who support their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs.

About St. Croix Hospice

St. Croix Hospice supports patients, their families and caregivers when they need us the most, delivering exceptional hospice care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year wherever a patient calls home. The agency serves the Midwest with branches in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin. St. Croix Hospice takes pride in round-the-clock availability, prompt response and same day admissions, including evenings, weekends and holidays. Contact St. Croix Hospice 24/7 at 855-278-2764 or stcroixhospice.com.

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