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'Smart Beds' Could Help to Prevent Elderly Patients from Falling

"Smart Beds" that warn nurses when an elderly patient is trying to get up, are on trial in a hospital's geriatric ward here to prevent occupants from falling, the developer said Wednesday.//

The innovation relies on sensors installed under the mattress.

When a patient tries to get up, a buzzer goes off at the nurses' workstation, a light comes on along the corridor and an SMS is sent to the duty nurse's mobile phone, enabling her to arrive at the bedside in time to prevent a fall.

Institutions in Japan, Germany and the Philippines had expressed interest in the smart bed system, the hospital said.

Developed by Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Engineering and Plenitum Care, a company that provides healthcare products, the device was installed in 36 beds at Alexandra Hospital.

"It's like having an extra pair of eyes," senior nursing officer Shirley Heng told The Straits Times.

Falls can result in fractured bones and even death from complications. Last year 73 patients, more than half of them elderly, fell out of their beds at the hospital, the staff said.

Weighing 15 kg, the smart bed system is made up of compression springs under the hospital mattress. Plenitum Care is aiming to make the smart bed lighter and more portable.



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