Nursing Home Facilities Phasing Out Alarms for Fall Prevention

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on July 5, 2016 in Nursing Home Abuse
Updated on April 25, 2024

falls in nursing homesNursing homes across the country are phasing out the long-term practice of using alarms and other prevention methods as a way to prevent falls among residents. Instead they are working to utilize more proactive and attentive care.

If your loved one has been injured or died after falling, do not hesitate to contact our reputable nursing home abuse lawyers in Milwaukee for a free, no obligation consultation to learn more about your legal options.

Alarm systems have been used since the 1990s when physical restraints were banned. They serve as a way to notify nurses that a resident’s body has shifted in their bed or chair, which may be a signal that they are trying to stand without assistance.

Research, however, indicates that these and other long-used fall prevention methods, such as lowered beds and fall mats, are not effective in preventing falls. In some situations, they can instead contribute to falls.

Advocates for the removal of the alarms claim they make nursing home staff complacent, which can lead to increased falls because they are not monitoring residents as they should. Many believe the elimination of these systems will require nurses to better learn residents’ routines and better accommodate their needs. Still others are concerned that removing the alarm systems could lead to more falls.

It is expected that the alarm systems could be phased out entirely within a few years, though there is no timeline or plan for a formal removal of the systems.

There is no clear data about how many Wisconsin facilities have already gone alarm-free. However, Lasata Senior Living Campus near Milwaukee, which recently removed its alarm system, noted in a letter to families that it is one of only a few remaining facilities in the state that had not already made the change.

Nursing home falls can lead to serious injuries and even death. It is estimated that approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die from fall-related injuries every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

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