(4 min read) Mark Weade has been with the Upper Arlington Fire Division for 10 years. He has made great strides in analyzing their EMS data to coordinate with their CARES (Community, Assistance, Referrals, and Educational Services) Program and identify residents most likely to call for falls and lift assists.
Mark takes it one step further and uses the data he’s collected to communicate with the patient’s primary care physician to improve clinical care and recommend home modifications, coordinating with appropriate agencies for the right treatment at the right time. His ability to implement fall risk reduction tools and safety assessments has saved lives and is why he is an EMS Pulse Award recipient in 2019.
Curious about who was actually making 911 calls to Upper Arlington Fire and with what frequency, Mark started by identifying the residents who call 911 most often. The next step was to analyze that data and find out what they were calling for and whether he could distinguish any patterns in the data.
Mark discovered that those who were dialing 911 specifically for falls and lift assists were the ones most likely to call again after the initial call. He then introduced a number of fall-risk reduction tools into the home, including grab bars, motion night lights and other home modifications that resulted in a reduction of fall-related transports.
Weade is always looking for ways to improve clinical care and streamline operations, resulting in fewer falls and a reduced need for transports to the Emergency Department.
Mark used data from the Zoll EPCR program to identify the repeat callers to 911 for falls and lift assists. He found that 17% of all calls to 911 were to the same address 5 or more times, and 22% went to the same address 4 or more times. He used that information to devise a plan to reduce the most common repeat calls....those related to falls and lifts.
Because of his initiative in interacting with the patient’s primary doctor and coordinating agencies, the volume of fall-related 911 calls was reduced by 30% and the transport of those callers by 25%. 65 grab bars have been installed in resident’s homes which has resulted in higher Activities-Specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Scores. These scores are patient-reported outcomes assessing balance and functional mobility.
Upper Arlington also saw a marked decrease in the amount of calls for lift assists that has freed up their fire apparatus for other calls and improved the ability of paramedics to ensure the patients can stay in the homes.
Because grab bars are not typically covered by insurance since they are not considered durable medical equipment, the cost to purchase and install those grab bars was originally funded by a grant. Now, Upper Arlington has devised a “pay it forward” program that allows each resident to purchase the grab bars for the next resident in need. This program has given the elderly residents in the city the feeling of giving back to their community and helping a neighbor and has been well-received in the community.
The Zoll EPCR system used by Upper Arlington also uses a button the paramedics can tap while on a 911 call that automatically uploads a copy of the Patient Care Record to their CARES software program within an hour of the call, ensuring that the CARES team has the most current information for treating the residents. This has further reduced the need for email notification and referrals that are made to the program, freeing up emergency responder’s time.
By the numbers
- By reducing the number of calls for falls, while also reducing the transports for fall calls, Upper Arlington Fire Division was able to reduce the total transports by 1%.
- This intervention and change in service reduced high utilizer 911 calls by 30%
- Recuced transports of those utilizers when they called 911 by 25%.
- There has also been a marked decrease in the amount of calls for "lift assists," freeing up the fire apparatus to be ready to respond. This has also reduced the wear and tear on vehicles.
- During the 18 months that CARES has been active, Upper Arlington Fire Division has installed 65 grab bars in resident’s homes. This has contributed to higher ABC assessment scores in the homes.
About EMS Pulse Awards
To coincide with National EMS Week, ZOLL created the EMS Pulse Awards. The awards recognize professionals who are the pulse of their EMS organization, working behind the scenes of prehospital care and empowering their organization to provide better care and ultimately enable their teams to save more lives within their communities. Winners were selected based on the information provided in their nominations, which was also used in their story above. This year’s winners were recognized at our yearly user conference, SUMMIT. Congratulations to all of our winners who are successfully streamlining the business side of EMS!
Interested in nominating a coworker for their achievements on the business side of EMS? Nominations will open again in Spring 2020.