Grantham hospital volunteers fund new sensor mats to prevent falls for patients

Scene Setters : Grantham Hospital.
Scene Setters : Grantham Hospital.
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Patients at Grantham hospital are benefiting from new equipment following a generous donation by a group of volunteers.

The Grantham League of Friends has donated £6,500 to the hospital to purchase nine sets of sensor mats to help support patients who have been assessed as being at risk of falls.

The mat can be placed under a patient’s mattress or chair and is connected to an alarm which is activated when the mat detects that the person is about to leave their bed or chair.

An alarm will then sound to alert staff, allowing them to respond more quickly and prevent injury to the patient. The mats can be connected to a pager which can be set to vibrate to avoid disturbing other patients.

The mats can also be programmed to play a voice message to the patient, to reassure them and encourage them to stay where they are until a member of staff arrives, which is particularly useful for patients who may be disorientated or confused.

This is one of a series of measures introduced by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust to help further reduce the risk of falls in patients.

A falls risk and mobility assessment is completed upon admission to identify if the patient is at risk of falls.

Patients identified as being at risk of falls are checked to make sure they have safe, non-slip footwear, are assessed for any visual impairments and their medication is reviewed to make sure they have not been prescribed any drugs that might increase their risk of falls.

The patient’s environment is also regularly monitored to ensure essential items such as the call bell and drinking water are within easy reach and that the area is free of clutter and unnecessary equipment.

Jo McCall, Senior Sister for Ward 1 at Grantham, said: “Assessing patients for their risk of falling means that we can take action to reduce that risk. It really works in improving the care that we provide to patients and we have seen a 28% reduction in the number of falls at Grantham in the last 12 months.

“We consult with family members and carers so they are involved in all decisions around implementing measures to reduce falls that we feel will be of benefit to the patient.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Grantham League of Friends for their generous donations and fantastic fundraising efforts.

“We are already seeing a benefit from the new sensor mats in helping us to further reduce the risk of falls at the hospital and have had great feedback from our patients and their relatives.

“The wife of one of our patients who was admitted to the Emergency Assessment Unit was able to record a message for her husband who can become quite confused and disorientated. She thought it was wonderful that she was able to reassure him, even when she wasn’t in the room.”

Simon Needham, Chairman of the League of Friends, said: “We are delighted that our fundraising efforts and the help of our supporters has enabled us to provide this equipment on all inpatient wards at the hospital and will contribute to a safer environment for patients at risk of falls.”