Nursing Homes Getting Rid of Alarms to Reduce Falls
Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Jul 06, 2016 in Nursing Home Injury or Death
Nursing homes nationwide are discontinuing the use of alarms and other strategies to prevent falls, including lowering beds and placing fall mats next to beds. Removing the alarms will encourage nurses to do a better job of learning residents’ routines so they can be more aware of when residents need help. This should help prevent residents from trying to take care of their needs themselves, and potentially getting hurt.
Alarms in nursing homes became commonplace in the 1990s after physical restraints were banned. The alarms were triggered when residents’ weight shifted on their beds or in their wheelchairs.
However, evidence has been piling up in favor of the idea that alarms and preventive measures such as lowered beds do not help prevent falls. In fact, these strategies could actually contribute to falls because fall mats create an uneven floor surface and the alarms can startle residents.
Also, alarms can cause nursing home staff members to get complacent. They might ignore the alarms if they hear them all the time.
The movement to get rid of alarms at nursing homes has become so strong that these systems could be phased out entirely in just a few years. Still, some nursing home workers are afraid to let go of alarms, fearing that this will cause more falls.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 1,800 nursing home residents die from fall-related injuries every year. That does not include the serious injuries that often result from falls.
If a member of your family has fallen and been seriously hurt at a nursing home, pick up the phone and call the nursing home abuse lawyers at Stewart Bell, PLLC. Get your free consultation to see how we can help you.