A resident suffered a broken leg after a nursing home fall at the Symphony of Joliet Nursing Home in Joliet, Illinois. The resident had a history of falls, and Symphony of Joliet had put an intervention in place stipulating that a bed alarm be utilized every night.
Nursing home interventions are any strategies that are designed to address a specific behavior that is putting a nursing home resident at risk for injury. A bed alarm typically consists of a sensor pad that sounds an alarm when a resident begins to leave the bed.
Bed alarms are useful for residents who are suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia. These patients are often confused and disoriented when they first wake up, and will try to walk even if they aren’t capable.
Unfortunately, bed alarms aren’t always completely effective. Nursing home residents can unplug the devices, the batteries can wear out, and staff can forget to turn them on. When that happens, nursing homes need to put additional interventions into place.
The resident at Symphony At Joliet fell four times in six months before the nursing home fall that resulted in the broken leg occurred. The Director of Nursing for Symphony of Joliet wrote “Wrong alarm and placement. Staff education. Safety and alarm will be re-evaluated when [the resident] returns.”
Nursing home falls are extremely dangerous for seniors, not only because of the fall, but also because of the aftermath. Residents who are unable to ambulate are much more likely to become victims of other forms of nursing home neglect like bed sores, dehydration, and malnutrition.
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