Emergency placement for seniors in a retirement home

Seniors’ safety: a real priority!

400-security-securite-senior-aine-visavie


Since this must be a public health priority in our society, we invite you to learn more about the challenges faced by seniors, the main risks, and the best practices to adopt.

All, with the aim of preventing these problems, ensuring greater safety and well-being for all seniors, regardless of their situation.

World Patient Safety Day: a significant worldwide initiative

Introduced in 2019 by the World Health Organization (WHO), this initiative focuses on promoting general awareness of the safety of patients receiving healthcare. Recognizing that safe care is, in fact, a fundamental right for every individual.

Unfortunately, across the globe, medical errors and care-related problems are responsible for several million negative events, including around 2 million deaths every year.

According to the World Health Organization, it is also estimated that nearly 4 out of 10 people experience some kind of harm during their care, and that over 80% of these situations could be avoided!

Since World Patient Safety Day‘s origins, various themes have been addressed over the years, all with the objective of improving everyone’s knowledge and educating the population more effectively:

  • 2019: « Speak up for patient safety! »;
  • 2020: « Speak up for health workers safety! »;
  • 2021: Maternal and neonatal care awareness;
  • 2022: « Medication Without Harms », putting emphasis on medication safety (a subject of importance for the elderly population);
  • 2023: « Engaging patients for patient safety ».

Recognizing the challenges faced by seniors in healthcare environments

Although patient safety is a reality that affects people of all ages, the situation of seniors in the medical environment counts for a significant portion of this reality. Due to several particularities, the elderly population is subject to many challenges which may threaten the safety of the care they receive.

These challenges include :

  • Difficulties in understanding technical medical concepts, treatment plans and their implications on personal health and well-being;
  • Communication that may sometimes be challenging between seniors and the medical team;
  • Seniors’ reticence about sharing their feelings or impressions, either because of fear or embarrassment;
  • Restrictions resulting from specific health problems, such as impaired hearing or cognitive disorders for example.

Although patient safety is a reality that affects people of all ages, the situation of seniors in the medical environment counts for a significant portion of this reality. Due to several particularities, the elderly population is subject to many challenges which may threaten the safety of the care they receive.

These challenges include :

  • Difficulties in understanding technical medical concepts, treatment plans and their implications on personal health and well-being;
  • Communication that may sometimes be challenging between seniors and the medical team;
  • Seniors’ reticence about sharing their feelings or impressions, either because of fear or embarrassment;
  • Restrictions resulting from specific health problems, such as impaired hearing or cognitive disorders for example.

Identifying risks and consequences

Since prevention is always at the heart of our actions, it is essential to know how to identify patient safety risks, and how they may impact the quality of life of seniors daily!

Being aware of the actual risks, however, does not necessarily mean being overly alarmed. The point is simply to acknowledge the situation, to sensitize the different people involved (patients, healthcare professionals, government institutions, etc.). All this, with the same objective in mind: to ensure safer care for seniors as well as for all patients.

In this context, here are some examples of the risks we would all like to avoid:

  • misdiagnosis;
  • difficulty in properly understanding information relayed from patient to physician, and from physician to patient, which can lead to misinterpretation;
  • communication difficulties;
  • lack of cooperation in the follow-up of treatment plans;
  • errors related to inappropriate use of medication;
  • as well as infection risk during medical procedures.

Through mutual aid between all parties involved, and a better understanding of this reality for everyone, it is therefore possible to limit the consequences. Maintaining maximum quality of life and well-being for seniors all over the world!

Solutions for greater senior safety in the context of health care: 5 strategies to adopt

By highlighting issues related to the safety of seniors and patients in general, the primary objective is quite clear. Indeed, it can be summed up in 3 simple words: educate, prevent, and protect!

On one of its social media pages, theWorld Health Organization outlined how to minimize the risk of error for patients’ safety :

  • Simplify and harmonize medical procedures;
  • Ensure adequate training and awareness among medical staff;
  • Encourage patients to participate more actively;
  • Ensure that good hygiene, sanitation, and safety are priorities in all care environments;
  • Recognize errors in order to be able to learn from them.

More generally, here are 5 of the main strategies we can implement in everyday life, as well as in healthcare policies, so that we can all succeed collectively in improving safety in healthcare environments.

1. Becoming aware of the reality of the situation

Despite its obviousness, this recommendation is the foundation for all the others. Without awareness and education, no progress would be possible.

In Canada, organizations such as the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Healthcare Excellence Canada play a key role in ensuring that all concerned actors are aware of the issues.

2. Do not hesitate to talk about it with friends and family

Worried about something? Do not hesitate to discuss it with your close relatives. Whether with your children, parents, other family members or trusted friends, the most important thing is to point out potential problems before they arise.

3. Effective communication with nursing staff

As a patient, we can certainly do our part. As the 2023 World Patient Safety Day annual theme highlights, patients may optimize their own safety in the context of care by actively collaborating with healthcare professionals.  Better communication between patients and nursing staff is therefore a part of the global solution.

In addition to sharing your concerns, impressions, and feelings, we should all make sure to provide the medical team with the most up-to-date and accurate information possible about our state of health and medical history. After all, nobody knows you better than you know yourself!

4. Ensure effective collaboration between everybody involved

Greater safety for seniors also depends on effective teamwork between everyone involved in the care process. From family doctors, specialists, nurses, to other healthcare professionals (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, etc.), hospital and seniors’ home administrators, and even politicians responsible for major decisions, every person has a role to play in ensuring that healthcare facilities remain a safe place for patients.

5. Taking preventive action in seniors’ daily lives

It can’t be overstated: prevention is the fundamental principle on which all these efforts are based. To limit risks, and reduce the heavy workload for healthcare personnel, preventive action also includes trying to reduce the number of hospitalizations. To achieve this, it is essential to put the health, safety, and well-being of seniors at the heart of our priorities, day after day.

In this regard, here are a few solutions worth considering:

  • Preventing falls and accidents :

Did you know that, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls are the cause of nearly 85% of accident-related hospitalizations? This clearly shows how injury prevention among seniors can play a decisive role in ensuring safer overall care.

  • Home Support for seniors :

By giving seniors the opportunity to receive the care they need right in the comfort of their own homes, while maintaining a high level of autonomy, home support also take an essential place in the quest for improved safety and security for seniors.

Looking for more information about these services? Take a look at the variety of home care services offered by Visavie‘s professional caregivers !

  • Choosing a safe and appropriate living environment:

When it comes to seniors’ safety and security, it is important to realize that the place in which a person lives is certainly a key factor. To help you choose a pleasant, safe and, above all, well-adapted environment, trust the expertise and experience of our Visavie senior living advisors for complete and free assistance in finding a retirement home that truly meets your needs !

Finally, as underlined by the World Health Organization, patient safety, and more specifically seniors’ safety, deserves to be a true priority. Therefore, let’s all work together to implement optimal strategies to minimize risks and consequences, and make healthcare as safe as possible, both for patients and caregivers. After all, this is a team effort in which everyone must participate!





Related Posts

400-concept-of-autism-memory-loss-dementia-and-alzheimer

7 stages of Alzheimer’s disease : comprehension for better help


Belonging to the large family of neurocognitive disorders, Alzheimer’s disease is unfortunately prevalent among seniors. To better understand this condition, and better support elderly loved ones who suffer from it, let’s take a closer look at the 7 stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on symptoms and the individual’s degree of autonomy, these different stages provide…

Read more Flèche
400-aide-soignant-aine-personnes-agees-seniors-caregiver-home-care-help

7 essential qualities of a caregiver for seniors


Much more than a profession, being a professional caregiver is a true vocation. Putting the well-being, health, and safety of seniors at the heart of their priorities, professional caregivers play an invaluable role in the day-to-day lives of the elderly, always striving to provide the best quality of life possible. At Visavie, we recognize the…

Read more Flèche