All the long term care facilities I have worked used bed and chair alarms on those individuals with unsteady gaits

All the long term care facilities I have worked used bed and chair alarms on those individuals with unsteady gaits, or those who are confused, to help prevent falls. The quality assurance nurses at one of the facilities reviewed evidence-based research that showed that there was no change in fall rates when alarms were used. Fall rates did decreases once we stopped using alarms. I feel the staff was more alert to these patients once there wasn’t alarms to depend on. I can see this helping in the med/surg unit of the hospital I work, because the alarms they use are very sensitive, so if a patient barely moves it goes off. This interferes with the nurses trying to get their work done when it alarms every 10 minutes, and it wakes the patient, and other patients on the unit. If we took alarms away, put those patients that are unsteady, or confused next to the nurse’s station where there is a person at all times, and increase rounding on these individuals, it could decrease falls, increase patient sleeping, and decrease time nurses are spending running back and forth to the room.
Reference:
Shorr, R., Chandler, A., Mion, L., Waters, T., Liu, M., Daniels, M., Kesser, L., & Miller, S. (2012). Effects of an Intervention to Increase Bed Alarm Use to prevent Falls in Hospitalized Patients. Annals of Internal Medicine. 157(10). p 692-699. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3549269/.

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