The 3 Highest Risk Medicines in Assisted Living Communities

High Risk MedicinesA data base sampling of 5 Boise Assisted Living (AL) communities indicates that of all the prescribed medicines that residents take, those for pain, depression, and anxiety are associated with the highest risk for failing health.  Residents taking any of these medications would benefit from a PRO-active approach of increased observation and supervision by all AL employees.

Here’s a 4 question test:  In YOUR Assisted Living Community…

  1. How many different prescribed medicines are taken by the average resident?
  2. What are the most common prescribed medicines taken by YOUR residents?
  3. What is the percentage of YOUR residents who take HIGH RISK medicines?
  4. If an employee suspects a resident as having an adverse reaction to a medication, what system do you have in place that will cause immediate intervention and prevent potential loss of that resident to an ER or hospital?

Let’s pretend we gave this test anonymously to the owner, administrator, marketer, nurse, and to 2 aides of YOUR AL.  I think you might agree that most of these 6 individuals would probably have to take their best guess for their answers.  And as a result, out of the 6 people who took the test, we would probably get 6 different guesses as answers for each question.

Here’s the problem with this very realistic scenario:  Guessing Costs Money.

Unfamiliarity with important healthcare facts about YOUR AL residents, and a passive approach to addressing their healthcare needs, leads to unnecessary resident turnover.  The ER, hospital, and nursing home are NOT acceptable answers to preventable and potentially treatable healthcare problems discovered in an AL.

Every AL has a large storehouse of healthcare and demographic information.  But this data base is so large and often so disorganized that a substantial amount of crucial and extremely useful knowledge remains hidden, never used.  This is knowledge that could help AL owners, administrators, and employees to improve resident health management , reduce resident turnover, and save thousands of dollars every month.

Data base analytics are an integral part of most successful industries.  This approach has not been widely adopted by ALs but has now become available.  Questions such as those above and many more are easily answered in real time. Sophisticated software allows important and actionable knowledge about each AL to be retrieved that will lead to improvements in residents’ healthcare and an AL’s bottom line.

Novel Ways of Using Your Data Base to Preserve Retirement Community Census

data baseQUESTION:  What is the most effective way to preserve census in a Retirement Community (AL, IL, or CCC)?

ANSWER:  Learn as much as you can about the #1 reason for losing residents, and then develop specific solutions.


Failing health far exceeds any other cause for losing residents in Retirement Communities.  The average resident takes 7.6 different prescription medications and has at least 2-3 or more chronic health conditions (CHCs), and this provides ample opportunity to lose a resident to the ER, hospital, or nursing home.  Proactive approaches aimed at stabilizing CHCs and reducing problems with medications have the most promise for keeping residents as healthy and functional as possible and thus preserving census.

Exploring a Community’s data base yields invaluable insight into maximizing residents’ health.  Doing so allows the creation of a HEALTH RISK PROFILE for every resident.  Combining the details of the residents’ CHCs, the medications they are prescribed, and some basic demographic information identifies residents as being either high, medium, or low risk for failing health.  If every resident is assigned to one of these Health Risk categories, then proactive approaches designed to counteract the threats in each category will offer residents their best chance at maximal health and independence.  This also increases their lifetime value to the community.

Here are 3 very relevant questions that can be answered only by a detailed analysis of a Community’s data base:

  1. How many CHCs does each of your residents currently have, and which ones pose the greatest risk for loss of independence?
    1. A PROACTIVE intervention program for residents with these specific CHCs will have the biggest impact in stabilizing health and improving resident retention.
  2. What is the average number of medications each of your residents take, and which classes of medicines pose the greatest risk for complications leading to loss of resident independence?
    1. A focused awareness and caregiver education of the most high risk medications will alert co-workers to be especially watchful for signs of side effects and declining health.
  3. Which resident demographics provide insights that may lead to improvements in marketing and the services you provide?
    1. Learning whether money is being spent marketing services that very few of residents actually use allows the reallocation of these funds to services having a broader appeal.

Our previous blog highlighted 5 CHCs that raise residents’ health risk and separate them from residents with lower risk CHCs.  Our next blog will identify higher risk vs. lower risk medications.  And a following blog will combine the information we have obtained from our analysis to suggest a Health Risk Profile for every resident that can be used to benefit every Retirement Community.

We believe that this type of methodical approach in the use of a Community’s data base offers a unique and creative opportunity for preserving census and increasing profitability.