ACCIDENTAL FALLS suffered by bedridden patients at medical facilities or at home could be pre-emptively avoided thanks to a newly developed programme by Bangkok-based King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) and a private sector partner.
Lecturer Prakankiat Youngkong at KMUTT’s Institute of Field Robotics said the electromechanical system was unlike other devices that call for help after an immobilised patient’s fall.
The new invention would instead be activated when rails on both sides of a bed were lifted into place, he said.
If a patient moved in a way that posed a risk of falling off the bed, the invention would sound alarms and send a warning alert to ward staff room. The alarm would be triggered if a patient placed an arm or leg on a bed rail or exerted pressure on a rail’s side.
The alarm would also sound if the bed rails were pushed down, he said, alerting nurses to potential fall. Patients’ attempts to get off a bed had often led to accidental falls, Prakankiat said.
The device’s pressure detection could be adjusted to account for a patient’s age and weight, he added.
The programme was developed in a collaboration between KMUTT’s Institute of Field Robotics and the Berlin Germany Import Co Ltd. The development team was sent to in-patient wards at four hospitals – Taksin Hospital, Suranaree University of Technology Hospital, Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital and Bang Khun Tian Senior Hospital – to implement the system on a pilot basis, Prakankiat said.
The device could be used in hospitals or at home to safeguard paralysed patients and bedridden elderly people as Thailand moves towards an ageing society, he said. The number of retirees is expected to be 20 per cent of the population by 2025.