Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and non-fatal injuries. Falls account for the highest number of injuries in nursing homes and most of them occur when residents are in their rooms. There are many ways to prevent falls or minimize the injury related to falls such as alarms, lowering the bed close to the floor, walkers and canes, floor mats, responding to call bells, and proper supervision by staff. A new one that has been introduced is helping nursing home residents maintain optimal health. Inside The Guardian House Alzheimer’s facility in Louisiana, each room is equipped with a Samarion Fall Prevention System. Guardian House CEO, Neal Rider said, “We have a ‘smart’ system, which is a computer system that will learn patient movement and activity.“
Each resident has an individual profile that determines the risk for potential falls. If they are categorized as a “fall risk,“ the computer and motion sensor devices will monitor their every move in bed and alert the staff if anything is abnormal. The most important aspect is to have good staff in adequate numbers to respond to the alerts. Looking at the computer screen as an alert comes in, Rider said, “You can see the unauthorized bed exit alert is coming in and you can see the individual getting out of the bed. It identifies where the person is in the building and where other individuals and staff are located throughout the building.“ Once the alert comes in, a nurse will immediately speak to the resident through the room television. Oftentimes, a simple reminder to stay in bed will keep a resident from making a potentially dangerous move.
This system takes the first of its kind preventative step in alerting staff before a fall happens. Guardian House Quality Assurance Manager, Kathy Richard said, “Our residents each have an electronic wristband, when they do a bed exit or they move – and the computer has programmed that that’s an unauthorized move, it will alert us.“
Another aspect to the Samarion system is its ability to prevent abuse in nursing homes. The same computer system working to prevent falls also monitors all interaction between residents, staff and visitors.