Ask ECRI: Resident Walk-Through Programs

August 20, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​A risk manager recently asked for guidance in revising a policy on walk-through programs in the independent living setting. Examples of programs include a requirement for residents to indicate on the outside of their apartment doors that they are okay, by placing a smiling face magnet on the door or hanging an indicator on the doorknob. The absence of the signal is intended to prompt staff to investigate. These programs were initiated to prevent situations where a resident may have fallen or even died in his or her apartment but is not discovered for an extended period.

In our response, ECRI Institute notes that these types of programs have been implemented in independent living organizations since at least the 1990s. Signals posted on resident doors act as part of a purposeful "rounding" program tailored to the unique elements of independent living. The programs also help to involve residents in the...

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