How modern hospital beds can support your falls prevention program

4 minute(s) to read

Healthcare professionals are constantly being challenged to put in place effective fall prevention programs to help minimise falls. 

One of the ways healthcare organisations can support their falls prevention programs is by ensuring that their hospital beds provide key features that align with their goals.

There are several important features to keep in mind when looking for a hospital bed that will support your falls prevention program.

Low height beds

Low-height beds contribute to falls prevention programs, since fall incidents often take place when a patient tries to get out of or back into bed. One of the best ways of ensuring safe patient egress and ingress is to keep the bed in the lowest position possible.

A study in an acute care hospital (Tzeng, 2010) found that 51% of the adult inpatient fall incidents and 56% of the adult inpatient injurious falls occurred while the patient was getting out of or back into bed.

Keeping the bed at a low height can ensure safe patient egress and ingress, and help support your falls prevention programs. There are beds that can go as low such as 254mm from the patient deck to the floor. This allows for smaller patients to be able to sit and put their feet on the ground.

Bed-exit detection systems

Bed-exit detection systems can help staff proactively monitor patient movements while in bed. The Joint Commission recommends having preventative devices, such as alarms, to reduce fall events. In a 2015 study, the use of hospital beds with integrated three-mode sensitivity exit alarms resulted in a 20% decrease in falls, and a 40% decrease in falls causing an injury.

Hospital beds can usually have various levels of monitoring. The three levels to look for are:

1. When the patient completely gets out of bed
2. When the patient moves too close to the edge of the bed
3. When the patient moves the upper torso

In addition to the bed-exit detection systems, the alarms should be visual and audible to better suit the needs of your team and your patients. These alarms can also be connected to nurse call systems to alert staff.

Beds event data and history logs 

In a special sentinel event alert issued, the Joint Commission states that “employing data-driven analysis can help falls prevention teams to continually re-evaluate and improve the approach to patient falls prevention and injury reduction within specific settings.” This can be done from your hospital bed.

Hospital beds can provide a history of bed event data – such as bed-exit and detection alarms. Tracking the history of these events and disclosing it throughout the hospital can help teams share and learn from each other and be proactive. With connected solutions, bed data can also be viewed remotely and in real-time, making it even more easy to share between staff and units.

Lastly, hospital beds with integrated scales can provide accurate readings of patient weight while they are still in bed, providing even more information to the data log.

Staff communication

Falls prevention programs can also be supported through staff communication. According to the Joint Commission, communicating safety information – such as a patient being at risk of falls - to all staff in the organisation, from clinical to non-clinical, can help prevent falls and fall-related injuries. Hospital beds can be equipped with a safety message centre to communicate to staff when a patient is at risk of falls.

Clear pictograms can be programmed through the bed’s smart screen and can even appear in screen saver mode when the smart screen goes into sleep mode. These pictograms can be viewed by staff and family members. In addition to the pictograms, beds can also have colour codes programmed to alert staff of safety information based on internal protocols.

Clear view of surroundings

Providing patients with a clear view of surroundings can help minimise the risk of falls. Research reveals that environmental factors commonly causing falls are related to tripping hazards and bad lighting - especially for patients with poor balance. Hospital beds can be equipped with smart nightlights that automatically light up when a patient steps out of bed, providing patients with a clear view of surroundings to prevent trips or falls.

How can ook snow hospital beds help support your team's falls prevention programs

  • Our range of ook snow hospital beds can go low and be configured to patient height without compromising overall functionality and compatibility with other equipment
  • Our ook snow hospital beds can be equipped with three levels of bed-exit detection to alert staff if a patient is about to move from the bed
  • Our ook snow hospital beds provide event data and history logs, and can be viewed from the bed or remotely through connected solutions, allowing staff to make fact-based assessments and monitor falls prevention protocol compliance
  • Our ook snow hospital beds help inform staff of fall-risk patients through our safety message centres found on our hospital bed smart screen
  • Our ook snow hospital beds can be equipped with nightlights to give patients a clear view of surroundings before stepping out of the bed


Originally published by Umano Medical.

To find out more about our range of hospital beds, please get in touch with our team.

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