Falls and accidents are important risks to account for when thinking about how to improve the health and safety of our patients and seniors in aged care settings, hospitals or at home. Falls can be dangerous and need to be considered carefully when designing a healthcare program. Some of the most common fall prevention strategies for reducing the risk to patients that cannot transfer or ambulant on their own are bed and chair alarms.
Are bed and chair alarms effective in preventing falls?
Bed and chair alarms are important intervention strategies for preventing falls in patients that cannot transfer or ambulant by themselves. There are a number of ways that bed and chair alarms can help prevent falls and reduce the danger that many patients face when trying to get up or move around on their own.
Bed and chair alarms are key to alerting staff when at-risk patients might be putting themselves in danger.
One of the undeniable truths of any aged-care or hospital system is that there are no such thing as unlimited resources, which means that attendants cannot be by a patient’s side 24/7. Bed and chair alarms help to fill this gap by allowing attendants to flag which patients cannot transfer or ambulant on their own, and alert them when they try to do so. This means that they can take care of many patients at the same time, ensuring that everyone is properly attended to. By alerting them immediately, care providers can respond promptly and assist the patient, preventing them from putting themselves at risk.
Bed and chair alarms work best when staff have a plan in place to respond.
Bed and chair alarms are only as good as the plan put in place to respond to them. When an alarm goes off support staff should be trained to treat it as an emergency and respond to it immediately, before the patient suffers an accident.
Alarms are meant for patients who cannot transfer or ambulate on their own.
Bed and chair alarms are meant only to be used with patients that are slow, frail and cannot move safely on their own. This means that they should only be used on patients that need them and avoids false alarms taking up the attention span of busy care staff.
Alarms can help remind cognitively impaired patients not to attempt to get up on their own.
Aside from alerting staff that there might be an issue, alarms can also help cognitively impaired patients, such as those with a mild form of dementia, not to attempt to transfer or ambulant on their own.
Alarms are best used in conjunction with other fall prevention strategies for maximum impact.
Alarms can be a powerful tool in allowing staff to intervene promptly before a patient can put themselves at risk but they should be used in conjunction with other fall prevention strategies such as fall mats, slip-resistant floorings, handholds and exercise programs to maximise the health and safety of patients under care.