Editor’s note: This post relates to 24/7 monitored (telecare) bed exit alarms, i.e. those which send an alert to a 24 hour monitoring centre when activated by a fall
People who fall at home can be left lying undetected for many hours, unless they have a telecare or other alerting system in place. Pendant alarms are one important type of telecare which provide a safeguard against being left lying on the floor indefinitely after falling. Another, less well known telecare device which can send a signal if someone falls during the night, is a bed exit alarm. The benefit of having a bed exit alarm is that if you misplace or forget to wear your pendant alarm button, an alert will nevertheless automatically be sent to your 24 hour monitoring centre. Unlike a pendant alarm, no button needs to be pressed for help to be summoned with most monitored bed exit alarms.
Bed Exit Alarm – Benefits
- Prevents person being left lying indefinitely without assistance after falling from a bed
- Can prevent mental and physical complications of a ‘long lie’ on the floor, for instance causing distress or hypothermia
- For anyone who has already suffered a fall and has developed a fear of falling (which may then restrict everyday activity) a bed exit alarm can help to alleviate this fear of a subsequent fall
There is a direct correlation between how long older people are on the ground after having suffered a fall and their subsequent recovery. Sadly, the longer a person is left lying unattended, the higher their risk of dying. Research shows that people who lie undetected for an hour or more, will be much more likely to die within six months of having had the fall. Fortunately, bed exit alarms can minimise the length of time someone is left alone after falling from their bed and can increase their chances of having a complete recovery. As is the case with many types of telecare equipment, bed exit alarms are particularly important for anyone who lives alone.
If you have a bed exit alarm and fall during the night, you will know someone is on the way to help you. This in itself is invaluable.
How a bed exit alarm works
Depending on the type of bed exit alarm you choose, it can be placed under your bed sheet or below your mattress. When activated (by a fall from the bed) it will then connect to a telecare two-way speech unit, also known as a base-unit (usually located in the hallway or bedroom of your home). Another common type of bed exit alarm is a mat type version which is placed on the floor beside the bed and activates when a person stands on it. The disadvantage of this type of alarm, is that you may be more likely to trip over it. However, these can still be a suitable option for many people as they can often be secured so as not to pose a risk. As most telecare systems for the home are wireless, no additional wiring should be required in your home whichever type of bed-exit alarm you choose.
Bed exit alarms can be configured to work, usually in one of two ways:
- To send an alert to the monitoring centre immediately when you exit the bed (between pre-arranged hours – e.g. 10pm to 7am)
- To send an alert to the monitoring centre only when you do not return to bed within a pre-set time frame (usually set to 15 – 30 minutes, though can be adjusted to suit the individual). This allows for bathroom visits during the night and means if you fall when elsewhere while out of bed, an alert will be triggered and you will not be left alone. Again this configuration can be set to work 24/7 or can be limited to alert only between pre-set hours of your choice
Bed exit alarms as part of a telecare system
Bed exit alarms can be used with no other telecare device, with a pendant alarm or as part of an integrated telecare system. If you are an existing telecare user with a pendant alarm, then providing your base-unit is compatible, the bed exit alarm can often be added easily to your telecare system by setting it in position and carrying out a test call to your 24/7 monitoring centre. Give your telecare company a call and they can advise you about compatibility, installation options and costs to add a bed alarm to your exiting telecare/pendant alarm system. Remember to check if your monitoring/telecare company charge additional monitoring fees for monitoring of extra telecare sensors such as your bed exit alarm. Also, ask about the warranty period as this can vary depending on the supplier. Typically for bed exit alarms/sensors you can expect the warranty to be for around twelve months. Then your bed exit alarm should be replaced. If you don’t already have a telecare system in place, most telecare companies should be able to provide you with details and costs for bed exit alarms.
Our Sponsor TASK Community Care includes a FREE pendant alarm when you purchase a TASK bed-exit alarm with telecare base-unit. And they don’t charge additional monitoring fees for 24/7 monitoring of more than one telecare device. Which means if you already have a TASK pendant alarm, you only pay a one off charge for the bed exit alarm to be added to your telecare system 🙂