Fall prevention system being tested - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/9/09

Fall prevention system being tested

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By Cassie Hataway | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -  Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. Even in nursing homes, falls account for the highest number of injuries and most of them occur when residents are in their rooms unattended, but a new computer system is taking a first of its kind preventive step in alerting the staff before a fall happens.

For six months, they've been trying the Samarion Fall Prevention System at the Guardian House Alzheimer's facility in Lake Charles, Louisiana and each room is equipped with the system.  It's actually a computer that actually learns the patients movement and activity to determine their risk for a fall.  The computer and motion sensor devices then monitor their every move in bed and alert the staff if anything is abnormal.  "Our residents each have one of these that they wear on their wrists, when they do a bed exit, the computer has programmed that that's an unauthorized move, it will alert us," said Kathy Richards of Guardian House. 

"The unauthorized bed exit is coming in and you can see an individual getting out of the bed.  It identifies where the person is in the building and where other individuals and staff members are located throughout the building," said Neal Rider, CEO of Guardian House. 

Once the alert comes in, a nurse will immediately speak to the resident through the room television: often, a simple reminder to stay in bed until someone can come help them and will keep a resident from making a potentially dangerous move.  In six months of testing the program in Lake Charles, health experts say they think they've eliminated 60% of the incidents that would have resulted in a fall. 

By the way, another benefit of the Samarion System is its ability to prevent abuse in nursing homes because the same computer system working to prevent falls also monitors all interaction between residents, staff and visitors.  Again, Samarion Fall Prevention System is still being tested in Lake Charles, but if it comes to Lubbock, News Channel 11 will let you know

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