discontinuing pressure alarms

Posted
by sls73 sls73 Member

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 13 years experience.

I am trying to discontinue pressure alarms in our facility. I am having a hard time getting the staff to buy into this concept despite the fact that pressure alarms do not prevent falls. Has anyone else discontinued pressure alarms? If so how did you get staff buy in and how did you implement this?

Thanks for any suggestions.

CaregiverGrace

CaregiverGrace

97 Posts

Why do you feel they should be discontinued? Not saying they're useful in all or even most circumstances, but I have seen situations where they have informed the staff that a patient was on the edge of the bed and trying to stand. What advantage do you see in discontinuing them?

NurseSuzann

NurseSuzann

56 Posts

I do not see any advantage in discontinuing a pressure alarm. Please sell this idea to us if you feel your point is valid. However, experience has shown me on more than one occasion that they do work as I have caught residents climbing out and almost on the floor when their pressure alarm has gone off. Please give us your source, because I have never once heard they are not helpful.

vampiregirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 12 years experience. 1 Article; 777 Posts

I work at a facility that uses pressure alarms. We are also a restraint free facility. While the pressure alarms themselves don't prevent falls, I support using them.

I find that if more emphasis is placed on education/ reinforcing education, they can be an effective tool. I remind residents that the alarm is to remind them to sit back down until someone is there to assist them, it's not there to prevent them from getting up.

It is also a matter of staff education to get ALL staff to respond immediately to an alarm. Sometimes, if someone does get up before a staff arrives, they don't have a chance to fall before someone assists them to safety.

I guess my question for the op is WHY do you want to dc them?

CompleteUnknown

CompleteUnknown

352 Posts

Agree with the others - they don't prevent falls but they do alert staff that someone is out of bed. Of course you can't always get there in time to prevent a fall, but often the resident doesn't fall straight way, they fall on the way to the bathroom, or in the bathroom, or just wandering around in the room. We mostly use these for those residents who are at risk of falls and who don't remember to, or just won't, ring for staff assistance. Why do you feel this isn't helpful?

CompleteUnknown

CompleteUnknown

352 Posts

I guess I should have added that our alarms alert staff through the nurse call system - there is no noise in the room so the alarms aren't frightening to the resident or disruptive to others.

iceprincess492

iceprincess492

Has 12 years experience. 85 Posts

We try to only use pressure alarms when absolutely needed. We have found that if we have to many of them the staff seem to almost get "desensitized" to them and don't respond as quickly. Also as soon as we are aware that res is turning off alarms we d/c them and try new intervention. I do feel they are useful for keeping some residents from falling and would not want to not utlilize them at all.

nurse2033, MSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU. 3 Articles; 2,133 Posts

Even if the patient falls it tells someone to check. They might fall and lie there for some time without the alarm.

westieluv

westieluv

Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice. Has 26 years experience. 948 Posts

Wow! I can't even imagine our facility without pressure alarms, and yes, they have prevented many a fall. With our staffing ratios, there is no way that we can give our residents the kind of supervision that they need a deserve (and are paying for, but that's a whole other topic). When I hear an alarm going off, I run into the room where the sound is coming from, as do the aides working my hall. Do you realize how many times I have walked in on a physically unstable resident just getting ready to stand up from sitting on the side of the bed when they can't even bear weight at all, much less safely?

You can do what you want, but if our facility ever got rid of pressure alarms, I would have at least one fall every shift (so far I have had none, mainly BECAUSE OF pressure alarms). Thank God we have such an innovative device at our disposal!!!

mzdebi

mzdebi

6 Posts

our facility is dcing the use of pressure alarms as well. They stated it is becoming federally mandated because it is a 'form' of restraint. However, since dcing certain residents alarms, we have had the SAME resident fall 3 times in ONE week!! It is so frustrating because last night I personally checked this resident and 5 minutes later she was on the floor by the bathroom after refusing the use of the toilet an hour earlier. If this was my mother, who had fallen 3 times in one week because of no alarm, I would remove her from the facility immediately for not keeping her as safe as possible.

Nascar nurse, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Hospice, Case Management. Has 36 years experience. 2,218 Posts

We try to only use pressure alarms when absolutely needed. We have found that if we have to many of them the staff seem to almost get "desensitized" to them and don't respond as quickly. Also as soon as we are aware that res is turning off alarms we d/c them and try new intervention. I do feel they are useful for keeping some residents from falling and would not want to not utlilize them at all.

I agree with this statement. The alarms I am used to are sensor alarms...pressure relieved..alarm goes off. There was a time when we had many, many residents on alarms and I can't begin to count the times I witnessed staff walk right on by and honestly didn't seem to even hear them. Desensitized to the max. (It is a pretty cool idea tho to have it run thru the call light system but I'm not ever going to get that approved thru the budget).

We took several off and tried some different interventions, ie: transfer poles (think stripper poles), therapy, dycem on the floor, more activity involvement - including things to do in the middle of the night at the nurses station, low beds w/ mats etc. Can't really say that we have seen an increase in falls as a result.

debRN0417

debRN0417

Specializes in LTC, ER, ICU, Psych, Med-surg...etc.... Has 31 years experience. 511 Posts

I have never heard of a "Federal Mandate" that says that alarms are a restraint. They are NOT a restraint. They do not stop the resident from doing anything- they just let you know that they are trying, or already have....

It is only a restraint if you use the cord to tie the resident to the bed or the chair...