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fall and injury prevention devices

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Buy Pressure Sensitive Mats

Our pressure sensitive chair pads and bed pads alert you when a
resident gets up. Use with exit alarms (fall alarms) to prevent falls.

Our chair pads and bed pads alert you when a resident gets up. For use with exit alarms.

by Rein Tideiksaar, PhD

Falls can be prevented through the use of various fall prevention alarms, exit alarms and other fall prevention devices.

Because of multiple chronic diseases and resulting mobility impairments, some patients/ residents may be so frail that they are at risk of falling by merely getting out of their bed, chair or wheelchair. As a result, these patients/residents often require staff assistance. Exit alarms are designed to warn nursing staff that patients/residents who should not be attempting to leave their bed, chair or wheelchair unassisted are doing so. A variety of exit alarmsare available:

Pull-cord and combination alarms
These exit alarms are activated by pulling a detachable tab from the unit. They consist of a small box that is attached to the bed, chair or wheelchair and a clip that attaches to the patient's/residents clothing. When the patient/resident gets up, the tab detaches from the box, sounding the alarm.

 See also: Printable list of pull-cord and combination alarms, alarm features comparison chart.

Alarm Sets
These consist of pads, mats or other devices that are placed on the bed, chair or wheelchair. They sense changes in weight and pressure. If the patient/resident gets up, the alarm sounds.

  • Pressure-sensitive mats
    This exit alarm consists of a pad or mat that sounds when stepped on. Placed on the floor by the side of the bed or in front of a chair, the exit alarm is triggered when a patient/resident places his foot on the pad in an attempt to get up.

  • Posture Indicator alarm
    This consists of a small adhesive transmitter patch, which is applied to the patient's/residents upper leg, and a receiver alarm box. When the patient/resident tries to get up from bed, chair, wheelchair or toilet without assistance, the transmitter patch shifts from the horizontal to the vertical position, sounding the alarm.

 See also: Printable list of alarm sets, Fall Alarm Sets section of SeekWellness Store.

Exit Alarm Criteria

An exit alarm is most effective at preventing fallswhen used for specific situations:

  • Patient/resident experiences fall(s) from bed, chair or wheelchair.
  • Patient/resident experiences fall(s) while ambulating shortly after leaving bed, chair or wheelchair.
  • Patient/resident has impaired mobility/ demonstrates unsafe bed, chair or wheelchair transfers.
  • Patient/resident has cognitive/communicative problems and forgets to ask for assistance or can't remember to follow safety instructions.

Exit alarms can be very useful in preventing falls, especially in seniors and frail patients.

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Posted October 2005
Last Updated October 2009

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