A Real World Evaluation
Evaluation of a digital solution that helps prevent falls and reduce manual turn checks
Vitalerter Installation: A Real World Evaluation

The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) undertook a real-world evaluation (RWE) on the Vitalerter innovation which claims to reduce falls and manual turn checks. The RWE aimed to establish Vitalerter’s effectiveness in these areas. For this project, utilising funding provided by the Department of Health and Social Care (Digitising Social Care), the AHSN NENC worked together with a North East care home provider and a dedicated project team which included Porters Care (supplier of the Vitalerter solution), Durham County Council and the University of Sunderland. The aims of the independent Real World Evaluation (RWE) were:

  1. How effective is the Vitalerter solution in preventing falls?
  2. How effective is the Vitalerter solution in reducing turn checks for residents?
  3. What are the key (known/unknown) qualitative and quantitative benefits (cashable/non-cashable) that will apply to care homes, care home staff, supporting clinical services/staff and the care home residents themselves?
  4. Is the solution viable to rollout out on a larger scale across area and the wider NENC region?
Challenge/Problem Identified

Falls can have a huge impact on the lives of care home residents, their family and friends and those individuals and services that provide their care. In England, the population of those aged 65 years and older experience approximately 255, 000, falls-related hospital admissions annually (PHE, 2017).

In care homes falls can lead to a person becoming more dependent (due to injury, reluctance to mobilise etc) along with an increased workload for the staff to maintain the necessary levels of care. Pressure ulcers are also prevalent in care homes, which results in the need for a turn protocol to be put in place which involves waking the resident several times in the night to manually turn them.

By deploying the Vitalerter solution and its alert functionality it is expected to realise benefits associated with a reduction in falls and reduction of manual turns necessary for pressure ulcer management.

Action Taken
Supported by staff from the care home provider and Porters Care as the supplier, 30 devices were deployed in 6 care homes within the County Durham area over a three-month period. Residents were selected to either use the device for falls prevention alerts or turn alerts (alert data monitoring only to establish potential benefit i.e., no operational procedures were changed, and staff continued to carry out the turn protocols required). The University of Sunderland carried out an independent RWE evaluation of the solution and provided a report to outline the outcomes. Three months baseline data and three months evaluation data were collected to carry out the quantitative analysis. Several staff interviews were completed to provide the qualitative information. The report was also complimented by extensive background research and being engaged with project outputs and attending key meetings to gain further perspectives on its success.
“It has reduced falls, reduced injuries, and hospital admissions”

Deputy Care Home Manager

Findings: Qualitive & Quantitive Benefits

Reduction in Falls – 53%
  • Reduce time consuming falls-related paperwork.
  • Reduction in one-to-one support when a resident falls and requires support and medical attention.
  • A more even distribution of care worker time among residents who were/were not categorised as fall risks.
  • Improvements in the provision of person-centred practice.
Reduction in manual turns – 33%
  • Greater comfort and quality of sleep for residents in the future.
  • A greater distribution of staff time
  • Less physical strain of staff members

Staff reported improvements in wellbeing and decreased work-related stress, indicating the potential for reduced staff sickness.

Confirm Air Mattress requirement

Ability to turn independently

Confirm 121 Care

Ability to get out of bed independently

Alert no bed return

Even if no fall risk from bed, alert if not returned to bed after a set period

Monitor bed presence

View time spent in and out of bed, #endpjparalysis (Up dressed and moving)

Improve sleep Quality

Alerts if mattress has been kicked out of bed , legs over side of bed, reduce nighttime checks

Vitals Chart enables Care staff to review residents’ vitals signs (heart rate, respiration rate, when a resident has turned and bed presence.

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