One theory we present in a nursing home fall lawsuit is that the nursing home failed to use a bed alarm or a chair alarm when one was needed.
A bed alarm or a chair alarm is a strip which is placed under the sheets.
The strip has a sensor which can tell when weight has been removed from the strip. As the resident starts to get out of bed, weight is taken off the strip and a loud alarm sounds.Bed alarms are considered a nursing intervention which means that nurses can use them without getting a doctor’s order. In a fall prevention care plan, bed alarms are frequently included as a fall prevention measure.
Failing to use a bed alarm when one was needed can be the basis of a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit
Bed alarms are in many ways more effective than other fall prevention measures such as restraints or raising the bed rails, both of which pose their own safety risks to the nursing home resident.Bed alarms are important fall prevention measures especially for nursing home residents who have dementia or poor safety awareness and cannot be relied upon to remember to ask for assistance when getting out of bed or walking.Bed alarms serve two purposes with residents who are fall risks:
- They alert the nursing staff that the resident is out of bed. Virtually every nurse or CNA I have deposed has stated that when they hear a bed alarm go off, they have to respond immediately.
- They remind the resident that they should not be out of bed. Dementia and/or poor safety awareness are factors that contribute to the fall risk level of the resident. The noise that the bed alarm makes provides an immediate reminder to the resident that they should not be out of bed in a way that frequent reminders and cuing by the staff cannot.
We believe that bed alarms are an effective fall prevention measure, especially for residents with elements of dementia or poor safety awareness. When a nursing home resident falls and a bed or chair alarm was not in use but should have been provided, there can be a legitimate basis for a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit. As experienced Chicago nursing home lawyers, this is one of the first areas we focus our investigations on in an Illinois nursing home fall case.