The 10 Best Bed Alarms
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in February of 2017. Everyone values privacy, but caregivers to the elderly know they need a way to supervise frail or visually impaired individuals who shouldn't be moving around without assistance. These bed alarms can notify a nursing aid when a charge is trying to get up, so help can come quickly in an emergency and patients can be left alone while resting peacefully. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 25, 2019:
We included several different kinds of alarms here, and each has its own pros and cons. The bed mats give you the most heads-up time, but are prone to false alarms and can be uncomfortable for the patient. Tethered models allow the patient more freedom, but they can get tangled in them, and they're easy to defeat. Motion detectors are extremely unobtrusive, but can be touchy, and the alerts may only come after the patient is already up and moving, which may defeat the purpose.
For these rankings, we focused on alarms that were reliable, comfortable, and easy for both patients and caregivers to work around. You'll have to decide for yourself which type of alarm is best for your particular situation.
That said, we believe that options like the SafeWander Wearable represent the future of these products. It syncs with your phone, so it doesn't require caregivers to lug around extra equipment, and it's small enough that wearers will hardly even know it's there. The biggest downside to it — and the reason we didn't give it the top spot — is that it may be difficult for non-tech-savvy users to operate. As smartphones become more ubiquitous, however, the skills needed to operate them are becoming standard as well, so we expect the SafeWander and devices like it to become more common in the coming years.
Emergency Caller Long Range You can move around your home or facility freely with the knowledge you'll be alerted if your patient tries to move, thanks to this device's 1000-foot range. It combines an audible alarm with a strobe light, so there's no mistaking when it goes off. rehabmart.com
Stanley Healthcare WanderGuard This subscription system utilizes a small bracelet for residents to wear which is connected to a central command unit. It's ideal for nursing homes and hospitals, and can be programmed to be compatible with your existing badge system to prevent patients from wandering off. stanleyhealthcare.com
FloorPro Soft-Fall This mat does more than just warn you that danger is imminent — it also helps to cushion any falls that may occur. The vinyl covering helps give feet purchase while also being easy to clean. performancehealth.com
Do You Need A Bed Alarm?
Bed alarms are devices that alert caregivers when the person in bed has gotten up — or worse, fallen out.
If you're a caretaker for an elderly relative or someone recovering from a major illness or surgery, you might have considered investing in a bed alarm for them.
Bed alarms are devices that alert caregivers when the person in bed has gotten up — or worse, fallen out. They usually involve some sort of pressure-sensitive pad that you slip under the patient, and if they stop laying on it, it triggers an alarm.
The benefit of these alarms is that they give you more freedom as a caregiver. You don't have to stay constantly by your loved one's side, allowing you to get up and take care of other chores, or even just take a few moments for yourself without feeling guilty. If your patient needs something, or if they try to get up, you can quickly return to their bed to see what they need.
It's also a good way to monitor people who tend to push their recovery too far. If your family member is always trying to get up and move around when they really shouldn't, you'll be the first to know — and you can assist them as necessary.
By giving you the ability to get to your patient before they get up, a bed alarm can also lessen your reliance on restraints, helping your family member to feel like they still have a little bit of freedom.
The biggest downside to a bed alarm is that it can give you a false sense of security. You'll still need to monitor the patient closely, and you'll need to have a cane or walker handy in case they try to move before you can get to them, as well as handrails to assist them in getting up.
While a bed alarm isn't the only thing you need to keep your loved one safe from falls, it's an additional fail-safe that makes a smart addition to your home. You'll appreciate the ability to get up and do other things — and they'll appreciate not having you hovering over them all the time.
Other Ways To Prevent Falls
You may not realize it, but falls are one of the major causes of injury and death, especially among the elderly or infirm. While you can't eliminate the possibility of a fall altogether, any effort you take to minimize the likelihood of one occurring will be time and money well-spent.
You don't want your patient putting their weight on it as they stand up and having it move out from underneath them.
The first thing you should do is eliminate as many potential hazards as possible. That means keeping floors clear, ensuring lighting is clear and bright, and securely tacking down any rugs or carpets. If you have wood or tile floors, keep them dry, and make sure that your patient has shoes or slippers with non-skid soles.
If your bed is on rollers, keep the brakes engaged at all times. You don't want your patient putting their weight on it as they stand up and having it move out from underneath them. Likewise, keep brakes engaged on wheelchairs and commodes, so there are no nasty surprises when trying to sit down.
Also, if they need to walk with the assistance of a cane or walker, ensure that it's always close at hand.
Investing in bed rails is a smart idea as well, especially if your patient tends to toss and turn, or if they struggle to get comfortable. Keep the bed as low to the ground as possible, and try to get low chairs, as well — just make sure they have a way to get out of them easily.
The most important thing you can do, however, is to monitor their health conditions closely. Ask if they've had any changes in balance, and check to see if any new medications can cause dizziness or other side effects. Ask them how much help they need, and do your best to accommodate their requests.
With a little bit of work and a whole lot of planning, you can make your home as safe as possible for your recovering patient. And who knows — if you're the clumsy type, these changes might just save your life, as well.
How To Make Life As Comfortable As Possible For A Bedridden Patient
It's easy to forget when you have to get up early to go to work every day, but being stuck in bed is no fun. However, if a bedridden patient starts getting restless and wants to explore, that could be a recipe for disaster, so it's important to make them as comfortable as possible.
The most important thing you can do is ensure that the bed is as pleasant as possible. Invest in high-quality sheets, and change them regularly. Have plenty of blankets handy, and see to it that your patient re-positions regularly to prevent bedsores.
Also, keep water or other non-sugary drinks nearby at all times.
If they're alert enough to enjoy them, keep plenty of entertainment options within arm's reach. Have a nightstand or TV tray close by where they can keep phones, tablets, books, and remote controls. A TV with a cable or Netflix subscription is worth its weight in gold to a patient recovering from an illness. Also, don't underestimate how beneficial simply being able to look out a window can be for a patient's well-being.
Make sure that they're eating well (read: nutritiously) while they recuperate. Feed them healthy meals at regular intervals, but be aware that they may not be able to down it all at once, so multiple, smaller feedings may be better. Also, keep water or other non-sugary drinks nearby at all times.
There's no way to make being bedridden easy or enjoyable. However, you can minimize your loved one's boredom or discomfort if you plan ahead.
Oh, and don't forget to crawl into bed yourself from time to time. You deserve it.