Friendship Haven pioneers nursing home alarm elimination
June 7, 2013
Fort Dodge retirement community Friendship and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals have developed a strategic partnership to reduce and then eliminate alarm use among the Friendship Haven’s nursing facility residents.
The goal is to eliminate all alarms to coincide with the opening of Friendship Haven’s new Health Center next month. “Our new health center has a home-like feel to it, and we want it to remain that way. You don’t hear alarms going off in someone’s home, so we don’t want that happening here,” said Friendship Haven President & CEO Julie Thorson. This is about more than a new building and alarm elimination; it’s about changing the mindset of how we provide care.
She added the alarm elimination will allow for a quieter, more intimate environment. Alarms not only distress residents, but also contribute to caregiver burnout.
Friendship Haven President & CEO Julie Thorson and Iowa Department of Inspections (DIA) Director Rod Roberts tour Friendship Haven’s new Health Center. DIA is the state agency responsible for the regulatory oversight of Iowa long term care facilities.
But alarms do serve a purpose in alerting staff that a resident at risk for falls is preparing to get out of a chair or bed. Resident safety is always a top concern at Friendship Haven, so Thorson, Administrator Jennifer Crimmins and Director of Nursing Michelle Jakeman met with DIA Director Rod Roberts and staff to discuss how Friendship Haven will continue to meet resident safety needs without alarms.
Crimmins emphasized Friendship Haven will use proactive and personalized non-alarm
interventions to protect residents at risk for falls. These include more handrails and grab bars, strength and wellness programs, increased observation, and cross-training of employees. When a fall does occur, a team of caregivers will do a root-cause analysis to discover why. Friendship Haven’s goal is to ensure every resident has the support to live full lives with faith, passion and purpose.
Crimmins said the passion and vision for alarm reduction came from a small groups’ attendance at a LeadingAge Iowa program featuring national alarm reduction expert Carmen Bowman. “We came to the conclusion alarms weren’t preventing falls, and they weren’t the right solution for our residents-mentally, physically and emotionally,” said Crimmins.
The alarm elimination process is being conducted gradually, with the goal of elimination of all alarms when the move is made into the new health center, currently underway.
Crimmins and Jakeman developed a packet of documents explaining the rational for the alarm elimination initiative, including steps toward implementation and a timeline. It’s called “Friendship Haven and DIA: Strategic Partnership,” To obtain a copy, contact Jennifer Crimmins:
About Friendship Haven
Friendship Haven is a non-profit, continuing care retirement community in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that offers a full range of residential options, services and amenities for over 400 older adults. For more information, visit www.friendshiphaven.org.
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