Hospital bed alarms found to be ineffective

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Certain medical devices and equipment are necessary to keep patients safe while they are undergoing care at a medical facility. Now new technologies are replacing staff and close patient monitoring to prevent falls.

A fall from a bed at a hospital can result in serious injuries, medical bills, as well as medical malpractice liability for hospitals in New Yoirk City and nationwide. A recent study has found that many hospital fall-prevention measures are ineffective. Bed alarms and other devices designed to alert staff when a patient falls are often triggered when they are not supposed to, resulting in a “boy cries wolf” alarm system.

According to the study, patients in New York and nationwide are at risk of falls when undergoing medical treatment. Falls are the leading cause of injury or death for adults older than 65 years. Throughout the U.S., emergency departments treat more than 2 million injuries per year caused by falls.

A recent study found that the use of alarms did not translate into fewer falls, even though staff had proper training and hospitals promoted the use of the alarms. Researchers concluded that the alarms sounded off improperly leading to “alarm fatigue” and the inability to distinguish real alarms from those accidentally set off. Patient advocates believe that the alarms do very little to prevent falls and that hospitals must train staff and monitor patients to prevent falls.

Despite the move towards technological advancement in medical care, there are some areas that cost-cutting cannot replace man power on site. Hospitals that seek to cut staff and invest in technology must remember that close patient observation cannot be replaced by technology.

If you or someone you love was injured in a hospital fall, you may be entitled to significant compensation. An experienced attorney can protect your rights and help you collect the compensation you deserve.

Source: USA Today, “Study finds hospital bed alarms don’t deliver results,” Frank Gluck, Dec. 5, 2012


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