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  • Writer's pictureDavid Lange

Aren't These Things Illegal?

Updated: Apr 10, 2018

Last November (2017) CMS issued some new guidelines for fall prevention devices and there seems to be some confusion.

I was recently doing some in-servicing at a new customer's facility in Missouri and one of the nurses asked me if these devices are now considered to be illegal. I believe she asked because the recently updated CMS guidelines for fall devices in both the bed and chair potentially categorized them as restraints, making them subject to the same restrictions as traditional restraints. The new guidelines actually state that if a product can work like an extension of the nurse call system without an audible alarm, then they are in compliance with the new regulations.

Falls are still a tremendous problem in our country's facilities and the CMS recently identified falls and resulting trauma as "never events," in spite of some still troubling statistics:

  • Hospitals still experience 700,000-1,000,000 falls per year and between 30% and 35% of them result in injuries.

  • Those injuries require an additional 6.3 hospital days with an additional average cost of $14,000.

  • Approximately 11,000 of those falls result in fatalities.

As a result of this new classification, reimbursement will be limited , specifically for falls that result in fractures, dislocations and intracranial injuries. The products that are offered by Lange Medical, LLC are manufactured by Curbell Medical who provide approximately 75% of the pillow speakers that are currently being used in the United States.

That means no other provider is more suited to connecting our bed and chair alarms into the facility's current nurse call system. Utilize your nurse call system while giving your patients the flexibility to move around the facility. Our product is really just an extension of your nurse call system.

We are also able to do this wirelessly reducing cords and improving the efficiency and efficacy of the system.

Because our product works with your nurse call system, the audible alarm can be completely managed making us totally compliant with the new CMS guidelines and not illegal.

Remember that a comprehensive fall reduction plan also encompasses multiple strategies in addition to alarms such as:

  • Having a robust assessment process

  • Visual cues of someone who is a fall risk to alert staff

  • Improving staff communication of fall risk status

  • Safe patient transfers especially while toileting

  • Low beds and mats

  • Staff and patient education

All these strategies are designed to help reduce patient falls. I would add one more to strategy to the list to building a comprehensive plan to make falls a "never event." Analytics!

Why are Analytics Important with Fall Management?

The first part of solving any problem in healthcare is data. Without data we're just guessing as to the causes and effects of a particular situation. In the case of fall management, that data comes from your nurse call system. The key data that you will need includes bed and chair egress event timing and response time. It may require some light programming from your nurse call system but Lange Medical can help with the data-crunching analytics at no charge. We will take your raw data and analyze it and compare it with other facilities and their data. This will give you some comparative information for analysis. For more information about this program, please contact us.

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