Nurses and Falls

Patient falls have a substantial impact on the healthcare system. When a patient falls, not only do they suffer the adverse effects, but so do the nurses who care for them. Ocuvera’s focus is on creating a fall risk reduction technology that helps minimize the impact patient falls have on nurses so they can better provide care. We are always listening to nurses who have experience using our system to better understand how they’re making it part of their jobs every day.

No nurse wants their patient to fall. For one, it can cause them guilt and personal anxiety. As one nurse told us, “you can’t help but wonder, ‘does this mean I’m a bad nurse?’ Even if you know it isn’t your fault.” There is also a risk that a nurse could be injured attempting to prevent a patient from falling. In the aftermath of a patient fall, the amount of work that nurses must do is significant. Nurses always stress this to us – they are already extremely busy with their standard workload, and when a patient falls, their list of things to do increases dramatically. Patient assessments, CT scans, X-rays, neuro checks, and seemingly endless paperwork are just some of the things a nurse might have to do following a patient fall. Longer term, a fall can also contribute to patient decline, changing their needs and possibly leading them to require closer monitoring or even a longer stay in the hospital.

Ocuvera understands the burden patient falls place on nurses. Nurses have a bag of many tools to help minimize the risk that their patients will fall – the Ocuvera system is a tool that is uniquely focused on nurses. The nurses that we spoke to pointed out three aspects of Ocuvera alerts that are especially helpful to them: they are proactive, visual, and customizable. Most other fall risk reduction tools are reactive, meaning nurses only become aware of a fall after it has already happened. Because the Ocuvera system is able to predict when a patient is at risk of falling, nurses are given the chance to prevent that potential fall before it occurs.

The visual aspect of Ocuvera’s alerts helps nurses to know exactly what is going on in their patient’s room. With standard, non-visual alarms, such as those triggered by pressure pads, nurses say they typically have to “drop everything and run” to respond, because they don’t know what triggered it, and it could be an emergency. Ocuvera alerts allow nurses to use the Ocuvera device in their pocket to easily see video of the patient and decide for themselves how to respond. This means that Ocuvera alerts don’t interrupt a nurse’s usual workflow to the extent that traditional alarms do, while also being “more sensitive” than existing bed alarm systems. One nurse stated that Ocuvera causes “no alarm fatigue,” which is “a positive influence on our nurses.” Nurses find the ability to have vision and “transparency” into a patient’s room particularly useful for any impulsive or stubborn patients, especially those with brain injuries or balance problems. Aside from sending alerts when a patient might be about to fall, some nurses have found other uses for Ocuvera’s visual component. Ocuvera allows nurses to monitor patients at night, so that there’s no need to disturb them unnecessarily while they’re sleeping. As one nurse stated, “we are able to watch [the patient] from the live video stream to keep him safe.” Nurses have also mentioned to us that the system can be useful for trial one-to-ones or taking patients off one-to-one sitter supervision, stating that it “helps keep the number of one-to-one supervisions down.”

Ocuvera allows nurses to use the system how they see fit, depending on each patient’s individual needs. Not all patients are at the same risk of falling, and nurses can choose when they’d like to receive alerts for a particular patient – when they have already gotten out of bed, when they’re about to get out of bed, or even if they move at all. They can also change this setting as needed as a patient’s condition changes over the course of their stay. For patients that require extra attention, Ocuvera gives nurses “the option of checking on our patients more often.” This gives nurses the autonomy to care for each patient the best they can.

Reducing and managing patient falls is just one of countless things a nurse has to juggle on any given day. In striving to be the best possible fall risk reduction tool, Ocuvera also strives to fit neatly into the workflow that already exists for nurses, helping them care for their patients without interrupting their already full schedules. Nurses using the system tell us that it fits in very smoothly with the rest of their work, that “all the components are in the hands of the nurses,” and that it “feels like part of everything else.” Nurses can set up the system easily before the patient even comes in the room, and it’s also simple to discontinue once their patient is discharged or no longer needs to be monitored. Easy integration means that nurses can spend more time focusing on patient care. One nurse testified that Ocuvera “just makes life easier,” which is exactly our goal.