Wireless sock monitoring system reduces patient falls, nurses find

A new study led by nurses at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center involving 569 hospitalized patients found the use of a wireless sock monitoring system resulted in zero falls. 

Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of Palarum's Patient is Up Smart Socks. The wireless system involves socks with pressure sensors that detect when a patient is trying to stand up and badges worn by nurses. The system alerts the three nurses closest to the alarming room when an attempt to stand is detected. The study period covered 2,211.6 patient days at the medical center's neurological and neurosurgical units and no other fall prevention system was used, according to findings published Aug. 19 in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality. 

During the 13-month study period, there were 5,010 safety alarms from the system. Only 11 were reported to be false alarms, meaning 99.8 percent of the safety alerts were true patient stands, researchers said. No falls occurred during the study period and the median nurse response time was 24 seconds. 

"We observed zero falls, which was a lower fall rate among the patients wearing these socks than the historical fall rate of 4 falls per 1,000 patient-days," said Tammy Moore, PhD, RN, senior study author and associate chief nurse of Ohio State's Neurological Institute. 

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