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Do stretcher alarms in the ED impact patient falls, decrease medication use and improve perception of patient safety?

At the 2016 Emergency Nurse Association Conference, Jason Upham form Cone Health presented his poster on the use of the of the Posey stretcher alarms in the Emergency Department.  The purpose of the study was determine if stretcher alarms in the ED decrease the occurrence of patient falls .  For this study, patients were assessed upon their arrival to the ED and throughout their visit for their risk for fall.  All patients with a high fall risk score were provided a stretcher alarm pad.  The staff members completed the survey tool at the disposition of the patient.

 

Results:

  • Nurse perception of patient safety prior to the use of the stretcher alarm of strong agree to strongly disagree was 2.68 and their perception after the use of the stretcher alarm showed to improve significantly with a score 4.70.
  • Did the implementation of the stretcher alarm prevent the use of medications for restraints? 13 out of 25 answered agreed or strongly agreed with total score of 3.35.
  • Did the stretcher alarm prevent a potential fall? 20 out of 25 reported agree or strongly agreed with a total score of 4.21.
  • Did the utilization of the stretcher alarm decrease the need for a sitter? 20 out of 25 reported agreed or strongly agreed with a total score of 3.65.
  • The results also showed there was no alteration noted in skin integrity while using the pad.

 

Implications:

  • Educating the staff on assessing patients for potential fall risk has made a huge impact on preventing potential falls.
  • Employee’s perception of patient safety prior to inception of this study was 2.68 and post study significantly improved.
  • The key finding of the project is that with providing additional resources (stretcher alarm pads) for the staff it was beneficial in decreasing medication use and provided another safety net for staff to help to prevent potential falls.
  • This study also encouraged the other EDs in our system to provide stretcher alarms pads for staff to initiate on their high fall risk patients.