Scientists at the University of Manchester in England have developed a carpet that could alert staff at nursing homes and other care facilities that a resident is likely to fall. The so-called “magic carpet” reportedly has special plastic fibers attached to the bottom that bend and send signals to a computer when someone walks on it. In the future, the signals may be used to identify walking behavior changes and alert care staff to a sudden trip or fall.
About half of all hospital admissions for seniors are reportedly caused by a fall. In addition, an estimated 40 percent of individuals who reside in a long-term care facility experience a fall injury in any given year. Researchers believe the carpet technology could be used to prevent falls in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities as well as the personal homes of senior citizens. In addition, the carpet may allow doctors or caregivers to analyze an elderly person’s gait to identify potential issues before they arise. The lead scientist on the project, Dr. Patricia Scully, said the carpet was designed to be low-cost, non-intrusive, and adaptable. Because of this, Scully believes the technology may be useful in a variety of settings and retrofitted as needed by the elderly and others who may be prone to falling.
Falls in skilled nursing facilities may be caused by a number of factors including improperly fitted beds and wheelchairs, environmental hazards such as poor lighting and wet floors, and underlying health problems. In addition, a failure on the part of nursing home caregivers to monitor the elderly and disabled after medication and other changes can contribute to resident falls. The nation’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that employee education, safety equipment, and proper medical care for residents can have a dramatic impact on fall rates at long-term care facilities throughout the United States.
Unfortunately, nursing home patients also risk falling when facilities fail to employ enough certified nursing assistants and other direct care staff. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act required that skilled nursing facilities operating within the state increase the number of employees to a level that sufficiently meets the needs of all residents. Despite the legislation, inadequate or poorly trained staff is frequently a factor in nursing home abuse or neglect cases in our state. If your loved one was hurt or died at skilled nursing facility in Illinois, you should discuss your concerns with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney immediately.
If your friend or family member was injured in a fall while residing in an Illinois nursing home, contact the dedicated lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. Our experienced Chicago area nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to help you protect the rights of your elderly or disabled loved ones. For a free consultation with a hardworking Illinois lawyer, please do not hesitate to give Abels & Annes, P.C. a call at (312) 475-9596 or contact us through our website.
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‘Magic Carpet’ Could Help Prevent Falls Among Elderly, Say University Of Manchester Scientists, by Ted Thornhill, Huffington Post