Mary Luckman BS., RN, Director of Nursing for Medina Memorial Hospital’s Skilled Nursing Facility, has been selected to speak at the 49th National Convention and Exposition of the American College of Healthcare Administrators in San Antonio Texas on April 13, 2015.
Mary will present her innovative “Stop Being Alarmed” program, which allows for an alarm free nursing home environment. Her initiative confirms that the use of resident safety alarms to prevent falls is ineffective and creates a loud, unpleasant environment for resident who live in the nursing home.
Over the last year, Mary reviewed the literature indicating that alarms do not prevent falls. She and her team decided to make a difference! The team observed the resident’s daily activity prior to the alarm sounding. The team began tracking the resident’s activity prior to the alarm ring to determine if needs were not being met. Tracking allowed the facility to better understand resident needs and to develop specific interventions to assist in making the resident more comfortable.
Problems with alarms in preventing falls include a number of issues: the lead can wear, the battery can die or fall out, or the resident can disconnect the alarm. The variation in alarm styles was also a competency issue for staff. When the alarm sounds, the staff runs…potentially a little too late to prevent a fall. Mary and her team focused on the resident specific routine and their specific needs, and developed her program an alarm free nursing unit.
“You need to focus on the resident’s specific life pattern, and intervene proactively,” says Mary. “ We still can have a fall – nothing is 100% perfect, but our nursing unit is alarm free, the decibels of noise have decreased, it’s a calm and pleasant unit, and most importantly the residents, staff and families love the difference.