Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 45 Number 8, 2008
   Pages 1183 — 1194

Abstract - Falls in older people: The place of telemonitoring in rehabilitation

Khim Horton, PhD, BSc (Hons), RN, RCNT, RNT, PGCEA

Centre for Research in Nursing and Midwifery Education, Division of Health and Social Care, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom

Abstract — This article reports the qualitative element of an observational study that examined whether an extended alarm service using fall detectors and bed occupancy sensors could reduce fear of falling among community-dwelling older people who had recurrent falls. The 17 participants in the intervention group used the extended alarm service while the 18 in the control group used a standard pendant alarm. Individual interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed. The participants' fall history and whether they were afraid of falling were also explored. Interview questions were grounded in theories relating to falls and queried participants in the intervention group about their expectations of and experiences with the use of telemonitoring devices; those in the control group were asked whether they would consider using such devices in the future. Key themes from the analysis were expectations, feelings of security, call center support, barriers to using assistive devices, and adherence and likelihood of using telemonitoring devices. Older people found that the use of telemonitoring gave them "a greater sense of security" and enabled them to remain in their home. However, some found the devices "intrusive" and did not feel they were in control of alerting the call center, which played a key role in their adherence to using the devices.

Key words: assistive devices, bed occupancy sensor, community setting, fall detector, falls, fear of falling, observational study, older people, rehabilitation, telemonitoring.


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