Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust has benefited from technology from Oxehealth which has led to a significant amount of staff time saved and a reduction in falls from its patients, a clinical study has shown.
The Digital Care Assistant technology at Manor Hospital’s Pembleton and Stanley wards that cares for inpatients with dementia has reduced falls at night by 35% and has supported the reduction of 71% of staff time spent on enhanced observations.
The software uses optical sensors to detect activity and measure the vital signs of patients in bedrooms.
The study, that ran from March to October last year, highlights:
- 33% fewer falls at night than in the same period of 2017.
- 71% reduction in time spent by nurses on enhanced observations; a time saving of 7,800 hours per year for the hospital.
- The falls that did take place were less severe: more than half did not result in harm to the patient. This not only supported better care but resulted in a 56% reduction in demand for A&E services.
Tracey Wrench, trust chief nurse and chief operating officer, said: “This initial data is very promising. The one third reduction in falls is very encouraging, and the remaining falls have been less serious. The data really does suggest that patients are safer. Also, nursing staff have really enjoyed using the technology and working with Oxehealth on embedding this innovation into nursing practice. It has also been supported by the whole multidisciplinary team. The study collected a lot of positive feedback, in terms of staff being able to anticipate falls and respond faster to falls and as a result has improved staff experience.”
“Carers have also been positive, because the technology helps to give them peace of mind, and reduces disturbance at night, which is a serious issue and one that the trust will be very mindful of, as we move into business as usual.”
Manor Hospital near Coventry cares for people with a primary diagnosis of dementia from two, 12-bedroom wards: Pembleton for women and Stanley for men. Patients stay in individual rooms off a main corridor for privacy and dignity, but they are at high risk of falls, so staff typically check on them every 15 minutes.
If there is a fall, staff can also use the Digital Care Assistant to replay a short video of the incident, turning an unwitnessed fall into a witnessed one, and avoiding the need for invasive observations if no head injury occurred.
Stanley ward manager, Linda Fitzpatrick, told the study: “The severity of falls and associated injuries have reduced massively at night: I think it’s because we can intervene earlier. For example, we can attend to patients within seconds if they are disorientated or confused so they don’t slip and fall.”
Tracey Wrench said: “The trust has taken an active approach to introducing innovation, and we want to encourage other organisations to become fast followers. We are collaborating with other trusts so we can learn from them and they can learn from us. This research has given us robust evidence that we can all build on.”