Special Report: Can a Bed Reduce Fall Risk?

According to a prospective pilot study conducted among 12 residents of a senior living community in Illinois, use of a specialty bed can significantly reduce the risk of falls.

Senior staff  at the facility, which offers short-term rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care, and residential health care options, evaluated use of the FloorBed (Accora, Inc, Bethesda, MD) (see photo). The specialty bed was provided in addition to standard safety measures intended to reduce the number and severity of falls. The bed’s floor level height, handset lock, and auto safety stop were considered essential safety features.

At baseline, 9 of the 12 residents in the study were known to have a recent history of and/or were at high risk for falls; among them, there were 23 previous falls (2 with notable injury and/or requiring diagnostic or medical intervention) Fifteen (15) falls had occurred in the bedroom, with 7 involving a fall from bed.

For the study, the FloorBed was positioned at its lowest height when in use, the handset  was locked to prevent accidental height adjustment, and protective floor mats were retained if previously allocated. Using a pre-post intervention design, fall outcomes were monitored prospectively for a mean of 11 (range 4–17) weeks, and data were compared to a 3-month pre-evaluation period.

During the study period, 5 residents experienced a fall, a decrease of 44%. Of the 13 total falls (a decrease of 43%), 3 occurred in the bedroom (a decrease of 80%), with no notable injuries and no falls from bed.

Although fall management will always be a compromise between limiting a resident’s independence and quality of life, the strategic use of equipment such as the FloorBed may be a feasible, clinically efficient, and cost-effective approach to fall reduction.

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