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Do You Still Use Bed Alarms?

  • 1.  Do You Still Use Bed Alarms?

    Posted 01-14-2020 10:36

    Colleagues – Looking to see if any of your inpatient facilities have discontinued the use of the bed alarm as a fall prevention strategy. Our facility has done away with the traditional "yellow" socks and is looking towards the remote televised sitter system that shows more success in their data than any bed alarm in terms of fall prevention. Would love to hear what others are doing.


    Thank you in advance!


    Suzanne P. Graf, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC

    Clinical Nurse Specialist, Acute Care Services

    Valley Presbyterian Hospital

    15107 Vanowen St.

    Van Nuys, CA  91405



    "A culture of safety is a culture of always."


  • 2.  RE: Do You Still Use Bed Alarms?

    Posted 01-15-2020 21:39
    I work at s 280 bed facility that does still use both the yellow socks and the bed alarm. We tried the TV system that alarmed and we had no change in our falls. We actually just removed the system and went back to making sure every hour rounding. Even hours nurse and off hours the tech.

    Cara Funderburk BSN RN
    Nurse Navigator
    Piedmont Medical Center
    York SC

  • 3.  RE: Do You Still Use Bed Alarms?

    Posted 01-16-2020 12:14
    This is a subject I was passionate about as a Director of Nursing in a Long Term Care facility. Staff were very resistant until they began to see the successes and enjoyed a calmer work environment.
    We eliminated alarms and reduced our falls through a standardized risk assessment (Morse Fall Scale) and implementing interventions at admission or with a change in condition. Nothing can take the place of staff eyeballing the patients and being aware of who is high risk. Interventions that also worked were converting bed alarms/floor mat alarms to ring the call bell rather than make a noise in the room (alarms generally are a signal to the patient to action, not inaction); "quiet times" for sleep promotion; scheduling medications and labs outside of quiet hours unless absolutely necessary; medication review for high risk meds - could they be eliminated or reduced; wide, low beds; anticipating need to use the restroom or need for snacks/walks; scheduled ambulation for strengthening; activities for distraction; keeping assistive devices within reach (if they are going to get up without you, make sure it is safe); padding hard surfaces or corners; staff can help you get pretty creative with interventions and check with your local LTCs - they are way ahead of the curve on this one.

    We used resources such as the VA falls toolkit, AHRQ toolkit.

    This recent article also nicely reviews examples of interventions that actually work. ​

    It is well worth the effort!!

    Christina Cullinane BSN, RN
    Research & Radiation Nurse
    Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center
    Bennington, Vermont