Preventing falls in nursing homes - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Preventing falls in nursing homes

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and non-fatal injuries.  Now, a cutting edge fall prevention system is helping nursing home residents maintain optimal health.

State of the art technology is changing the way nursing homes operate. Inside The Guardian House Alzheimer's facility, each room is equipped with a Samarion Fall Prevention System.  Guardian House CEO, Neal Rider says, "We have a 'smart' system, which is a computer system that will learn patient movement and activity."

Rider says 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.  Looking at the computer screen as an alert comes in, Rider says, "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."

Falls account for the highest number of injuries in nursing homes and most of them occur when residents are in their rooms.  This system takes the first of its kind preventative step in alerting staff before a fall happens.  Guardian House Quality Assurance Manager, Kathy Richard says, "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."

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.

While not all falls can be prevented, the combination of Samarion Prevention and an attentive staff can curb those numbers.  "We have shown over the past six months of testing that we have actually eliminated 60 percent of those incidents that would have resulted in a fall," says Rider.

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.

*The Guardian House in Lake Charles is currently the only facility in the world with the Samarion Fall Prevention System.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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