We have instituted a "no bedrails" policy. While I understand the concept, in reality, it is a nightmare. On my shift (1900-0700), I am routinely dealing with residents ( usually the same ones) who are falling out of bed - I average 1-2 falls per shift. We have all the usual things in place, safety mats, alarms etc. But that doesn't take away from the HIR we must follow as per home policy, or the amount of paper work that follows. The PSW's are nervous wrecks on the night shift as there is only 1 for 30 residents. I have been on the floor when 5 or 6 alarms are sounding and we know that some will be on the floor. It is impossible for me to complete the proper HIR as sometimes I am running between areas every 15 min. to do follow up VS.
I would like to know how others are coping. Maybe there is something else our home can try.
Increasing staffing will not be an option.
Well this will be unpopular BUT, first of all get rid of most if not all of those alarms!!!
- They are loud. They are waking the whole hall up for one problem person. They are very likely agitating several residents. (Think - are you giving sleepers/antianxiety meds at the same time you have alarms blaring in their ear?)
- They are scary if you are a confused resident. What do you do when you hear an alarm of any kind in society - you move quickly and try to get out of the way. Do we really want our residents moving quickly and trying to get out of the way?
- They do NOTHING to physically stop a fall. By the time you respond to an alarm in most instances, they are already on the floor
- Staff gets alarm fatigue and stop responding quickly, if at all, anyways.
Alternatives: Low beds, Floor mats, Body pillows, bolstered edge mattresses, a large stuffed animal for the resident to "hold" in the bed, stop waking people up as often during the night so they don't get agitated and actually sleep.
My facility started alarm reduction Jan 1 and last alarm removed end of March. I'm the DON - the staff insisted it couldn't be done at first but even they began to quickly see great results. I've done the fall stats from 2016 compared to 2017. WE HAD A 52% REDUCTION IN FALLS since we've discontinued alarms! I have to say, even I'm totally amazed it was that much but we all have come to the conclusion that the constant noise of alarms was driving both staff and resident nuts. The more agitated the residents were, the more they tried to get up. Interestingly our antianxiety and antipsychotic usage has also gone down, although not to the same drastic extent.
Give it some thought