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Expert Review – Bed & Chair Sensor Pad with Voice Alarm



Bed Sensor Pad & Alarm




Voice Alarm & Sensor Pad System




Chair Sensor Pad & Alarm


MANUFACTURER
Alimed

COST
$115 for Chair Pad with Voice Alarm (4 AA batteries included)

$135 for Bed Pad with Voice Alarm (4 AA batteries included)

VENDORS
Alimed

DISCLAIMER
The listing of these products is for informational purposes and individuals must use their own caution and judgment when using these resources. Functional levels and changes in judgment and reasoning are highly variable in people with dementia. Interventions must be individualized and continually assessed because those that are effective for some individuals may only work briefly and may not work at all for others.

DESCRIPTION
Falls are a significant problem for individuals with dementia who attempt to get out of a chair or bed independently when they’re no longer able to rise safely without your assistance. There are a growing number of products on the market that can alert the person not to get out of a chair or bed unassisted. Many of these sound a loud alarm at the person’s side, which can be upsetting to the person.

The product we tested, a sensor pad with alarm, plays a recorded message first for 20 seconds before sounding a regular alarm. You can record a personalized 20 second message that will play when the person rises and removes their weight from the pad; this is referred to as the “voice alarm.” Following the voice alarm, the tone alarm you have chosen will ring.

The manufacturer recommends using a chuck pad or a sheet over the sensor pad for individuals who are incontinent.

The unit also has a red LED light that flashes when the alarm is activated.

The product comes with several mounting options, including a wall mount bracket and a mesh bag with velcro that can be wrapped around the foot of the bed, bed rail, etc. In addition, there is a metal clip on the back of the device that can attach to a wheel chair.

PROS
May allow you to get to person’s side to offer assistance, if the person has adequate language comprehension to understand the recorded instructions.

Initial alarm is the “voice alarm,” your recorded message, ensuring that the voice is familiar to the person

Both voice and regular alarms stop and automatically reset when the person sits or lays back down on the pad

Good audio quality

Low/Hi volume adjustment on speaker unit - we recommend using the Hi as the Low is very low

Low battery alert

Sensor pad can be covered with a chucks pad for a person who’s incontinent

Choice of four tone alarm options, including a non jarring ding dong - this is the alarm that plays after the 20 second voice alarm

Pad has adhesive strips on bottom to prevent shifting

In bed, the pad can be placed either under the shoulders, for a quicker alarm response, or under the hips. Test to see which is most effective for your situation. For example, placing it under the shoulders would generate false alarms if the person often sits up in bed, but does not get out of bed, as sitting up would remove shoulder weight from the pad.

CONS
Sensor pad has a warranty of only six months

The person may experience discomfort laying or sitting on the pad – although thin, it’s relatively stiff

The pad must remain correctly positioned under the person or the alarm may not sound when the person gets up

The person may become agitated -

By the recorded message telling them what to do, especially if the voice alert plays over and over again. It may be better to record one long 20 second message. (The device plays for 20 seconds, so if your recording is 5 seconds, it will repeat 4 times.)

If they perceive the voice as disembodied. Identify yourself in the recording so as not to create agitation. (E.g., “Hi Victor, it’s your wife, Tracey. Don’t get out of bed. Wait for me, I’ll be right there….”)

The alarm and voice sounds only at the site of pad. Depending on the size of your home, you may not hear the alarm and may need to combine this product with another, like a remote sensor alert.

When the pad is placed under the hips when the person is in bed, the voice reminder alarm will sound when the person is in the act of rising from the chair or bed– which may be too late, depending on the person’s fall risk.

CAUTION
If the person is hearing impaired, they may not be able to hear or understand the words.

Sensor pads do not automatically prevent falls, but they may allow you the time you need to get to person’s side to offer assistance.


Product Selection Criteria

Our goal is to teach you how to be a good consumer and to help you learn about specific products and unique product features that may enhance your safety and the safety and function of the person with dementia. The products shown in This Caring Home serve as examples only. Manufacturers continually change product specifications and the products represented may be different from those now on the market.

We realize this is not an all-inclusive list. Products featured in This Caring Home were chosen for one or more of the following reasons:
  • Affordability
  • Attractiveness
  • Availability
  • Color selection
  • Ease of use
  • Quality
  • Safety
We encourage you to discuss product selection with other caregivers and health care professionals.


How We Tested

"ThisCaringHome.org tested many products that are commonly recommended for best practices to identify the best use of these products and any potential problems in their use by caregivers and individuals with dementia. Each product included in an Expert Review was tested in a home environment, either an apartment or a single family home (or both), by at least two people. Rosemary Bakker, interior designer, gerontologist and dementia specialist, was one of the testers for every product. Whenever possible, we tested the product over time, sometimes days, weeks, or months, for:
  • Ease of use
  • Reliability
  • Potential safety issues
As a result of our testing, we're listing the pros and cons for using these products and including safety precautions for various products. These products were not tested by persons with dementia. We hope in the future to do case studies to learn more about what works and what doesn't work in a larger variety of caregiving situations and home environments."

Products listed on our website but not tested by ThisCaringHome.org are referred to as "Product Listings".



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