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Side by Side for Safety

Side by Side for Safety

May 28, 2024 Posted in: Health & Wellness  2 minute read time

At Saint Joseph Hospital, patients at risk of falling aren’t alone, even when no one else is in the room. A virtual companion helps them stay safe.

While hospitalized, some patients with a high fall score — an indicator of vulnerability to falling — or who are prone to confusion share their room with a virtual companion. Provided by a virtual care company, the virtual companion is a tall, wheeled device equipped with a camera and microphone. Attendants at a central monitoring hub in Phoenix, Arizona, observe patients 24/7 to ensure they don’t get into potentially dangerous situations.

“Imagine an invisible safety perimeter around a patient’s bed,” said Cathy Lowe, DNP, MBA, RN, CEN, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Saint Joseph Hospital. “If, for example, the virtual attendant sees the patient place their foot outside the perimeter, they can remind the patient through the virtual companion to put their leg back in bed.”

Reducing Falls

If a patient doesn’t follow instructions, the virtual attendant can activate an alarm that prompts hospital staff to visit the room. The unit’s camera is inactive during sensitive times, such as when staff are helping a patient with personal hygiene.

“Our 12 units have helped reduce preventable falls,” Lowe said. “These devices provide another layer of safety for patients.”

At CHI Saint Joseph Health, our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate health care for all who seek it, and we strive for the best, safest care for our patients. Learn more about what we do to keep patients safe.

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