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My 95 yo MIL lives in a restraint-free facility. Her mobility is limited due to age and a fractured femur several years ago. She spends much of her time in her wheelchair. She is able to transfer from chair to bed and chair to toilet. The problem is that recently she has been falling asleep or losing consciousness and falling from the chair. (This has happened at least 3 times in the last month). After her most recent fall the staff has taken away her wheelchair and she must have staff present to use it. Since she has been using the chair to get herself to the bathroom, to get to her closet for her clothes, to get to meals, and to get to activities her independence has been severely curtailed.


Is there any kind of alarm or appliance that is not considered a restraint that would alert her or the staff when she has slumped so far over in the chair that she is in danger of falling out?

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My moms facility cannot use any restraints or alarms. When mom started to slip, slide or keel over from her wheelchair, PT did 3 things: got her a smaller chair; got her a pad that fits down one side of the chair to take up a little more room from her hip to her shoulder; got her a thicker seat pad that actually forces her knees up a little higher than her bum so it’s harder to get out.
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Reply to rocketjcat
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A tilting wheelchair or geri chair is also considered a restraint where I live Joanne, fortunately there is some flexibility here with almost anything available as long as we sign a waiver.
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Reply to cwillie
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I suppose it varies by state, but, I agree with cwillie about the device that can be used as long as the user is able to undo the belt. The belt will alert with an alarm and alert staff when it is undone by the user. Staff can then attend to her. Of course, if she's fast, she can fall down, before staff can get to her. I'd check with the facility and the doctor to see the exceptions in your state and what might be possible. I might also inquire about the geri chair that slants back and may discourage falling.

Even though, my LO could unsnap the alarm belt, it did help her. Eventually, she would unsnap the belt, let it alarm and laugh. She'd then snap it back before staff could get to her. lol This amazed me, because she has severe dementia.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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Mom always had an alarm that hooked to the wheelchair and clipped to her top. The line between the two points is short. It doesn't take much to set it off.

Mom had a geri chair that the seat slant l little towards the back. The head rest is padded so if Mom fell asleep she would be comfortable. They could also put the back down.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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It is my understanding that a seat belt can be used as long as the person can demonstrate the ability to open it unassisted, you might want to search for the actual regulation on this in your state because many facilities seem to be erring on the side of caution over common sense and are rigid and inflexible in their interpretation. There are also various types of alarms that will sound if someone gets up from their chair but unfortunately they only sound after the fall has taken place, plus they would sound every time she stands or transfers.
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Reply to cwillie
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