Colorado hospital uses 'virtual sitters' to prevent patient falls

Thornton, Colo.-based North Suburban Medical Center is using a virtual monitor with a camera and communication device to keep patients from falling, Fox-affiliate TV station KDVR reports.

The virtual sitters are set up in patient rooms, and staff can monitor several patients remotely to see if they are agitated, leaning, reaching or attempting to get up. If patients are at risk for falling, staff can alert the patient's nurse or security immediately.  

Since implementing the virtual sitter technology, which is HIPPA-compliant, North Suburban has reduced patient falls to less than 1 percent of all admissions.

Hospital staff also said the system is efficient since nurses no longer need to sit in a room with a patient to monitor them.

"It's been a really good success story for our nurses and for our patients," said Kari Johansen, director of nursing resources for the hospital.

If a patient has a significantly high risk for falling or injuring themselves, however, a nurse can still be assigned to sit at their bedside.

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