Patients that are seriously ill, or suffer from dementia, often become disorientated and can fall when exiting a bed or chair. There is a high risk injury or potential death from falling from a bed or chair. The need to monitor these patients day and night places a high demand on nursing staff and carers.
To develop a sensing, communications and management system to relieve nurses and carers of the need to keep constant visual contact with ‘at risk’ patients. The solution needed to be scalable to suit in home care, small nursing homes up to large institutions and hospitals. Patients may exit either side of a bed and may also fall exiting a chair.
The basic sensing mechanism for the system was an invisible infra-red beam sensor commonly used in industrial plants for various safety and machine automatic applications. Our client holds a patent for the use of this sensing technique for patient monitoring.
Dosec developed electronics to and provide instant alarms to nursing staff as well as logging system activity. The solution was 2.4GHz wireless based to minimise installation time and cost and to allow nurses the freedom to move around a ward while constantly monitoring patients.
In order to provide scalability, the system was designed with the following components:
Bed monitor, single and dual
This is a mobile unit which can be attached to a bed or placed in front of a chair which detects a patient’s attempt to get out of the bed or a chair. Once movement is detected, the bed monitor generates an alarm which is received by a remote alarm, radio pager or the patient management software. This alerts hospital staff which then rush to the patient’s location in order to assist them in order to prevent potential serious injury or death. Bed monitors can be placed near a chair, on either side of a bed or paired to operate on both sides of a bed.
The mobile pager runs on a lithium polymer battery and can be configured to receive alarms from specific bed monitors. Using sound and vibration, it alerts the staff member carrying it that a patient requires assistance. The details of the patient’s location are displayed on the LCD display.
The remote alarm is a low cost, static, audible alarm receiver which can be paired to a single bed monitor. It produces a loud, audible sound when an alarm is transmitted by a bed monitor.
The Entry Pass is a credit card sized wireless tag carried by nurses. It automatically de-activates the bed monitor alarms when an a nurse at the bedside treating the patient. The bed monitor is automatically re-activated when the nurses leaves. This assists in disease control as no buttons or switches need to be pressed.
Patient management software with radio receiver
This software has been developed to track patient alarms as well as nurse movement throughout the hospital. With detailed logging capability, it is used as an effective management tool.