Stephen M. O'Brien III, PLLC - Personal Injury Attorneys
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Hospital staff responsible for monitoring patients, not alarms

A study released this month revealed that alarms in hospital beds designed to keep patients from getting up unattended and falling are largely ineffective. Employees waiting for alarms to go off instead of routinely observing patients could be considered a form of hospital negligence.

In a place where people are likely weak, disoriented, already injured or are experiencing a combination of those symptoms, simply getting out of bed can be one of the most dangerous things a hospital patient can attempt to do. Researchers stated that this 18-month study of 349 alarm-equipped beds used by almost 28,000 patients in a particular hospital did not show the alarms to prevent any fewer falls.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the highest cause of injury and death among adults over the age of 65 is accidental falls. Some hospitals put signs outside the rooms of patients with the highest risk of falling, yet no one is physically watching those patients.

The study noted that the elderly or patients with conditions rendering them easily confused may not remember being told to stay in bed. Researchers stated that the most falls are likely to happen between the hours of 7p.m. and 7a.m. as a result of patients needing to use the bathroom.

Alarms are able to be ignored by patients and staff, which alludes to the fact that alarms are not providing results for better safety. Hospital staff should be trained to monitor high-risk patients and teach their families preventative measures. If you or a loved one has been injured in a fall related to hospital bed alarms, hirng an attorney may be of interest to you.

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

O'Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC is located in Lexington, KY and serves clients in and around Lexington, Keene, Nicholasville, Versailles, Midway, Georgetown, Wilmore, Paris, Bourbon County, Fayette County, Jessamine County, Scott County and Woodford County.

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