At the end of September we have Falls Prevention Awareness Week. With us still in our Technology in Care quarter we talked to Registered Manager Ruth Holder at Elmhurst Short Stay, to discuss what technology they use as a way to prevent falls.
Technology is constantly evolving and creating new devices that can be used to improve care; fall pendants are one such device.
“A falls pendant is quite a new thing at Elmhurst” says Ruth, “we needed it due to a number of people we identified at the point of admission, who were at a higher risk of falls.” Ruth goes on to say that a falls pendant is worn around the neck of a customer and contains a drop sensor. The nifty thing about this bit of kit is that when a customer falls, the pendant automatically activates the alarm that is sent on the loop to all the carers around Elmhurst through the Tunstall intercom system. A staff member then answers the call and can instantly talk to the customer to see what is wrong. If the customer has just bent over to pick something up, the carer is able to deactivate the alarm and return to the duties they were doing. If something more serious has occurred, action stations can be activated quicker and if senior carers or managers need to be on hand this can happen much more quickly than relying on going to the room to assess the situation before getting the necessary help.
“We have had success with it. We have a lady staying at the moment who is at a higher risk of falls. She wears it all the time now. At this moment in time, touch wood, she’s not had any falls. But it’s there for her if she does.”
Elmhurst also use a bed sensor and floor pressure mat that can alert staff to when customers are moving; another step towards reducing the risk of falls. The sensor mat is placed on the bed and Ruth tells me about a lady receiving near end of life care, who can get agitated early in the morning. As soon as she releases some pressure on the bed sensor mat, an alarm goes to the carers on duty and they can go to help her, even before the lady activates the pressure mat on the floor beside her bed.
It’s all about reducing the risk and any undue stress for customers, their relatives and staff. For example, Ruth speaks about the benefits of the system during the busy morning routine, when staff have multiple customers to care for, support and get ready for their day. Staff can talk to any customers who have activated the alarm to assess their needs and also to reassure them when they will be seen to, without having to leave the customer they are caring for at that moment. This technology is reducing risk, helping the work load of staff and improving care for customers.
As Ruth says it's a “brilliant bit of kit”.