Educate Resident to use Call Light

When assessing a resident fall, sometimes it is apparent that if the resident would have used the call light and waited for help, the fall could have been avoided. Seems obvious, right? So our intervention becomes, “Educate resident to use call light.”

The problem is, we’re supposed to be determining the root cause of the fall. In this case, the question shouldn’t be, “What did the resident do wrong?” Instead we must ask, “What was the resident trying to do? How could we have better anticipated that resident’s needs?”

Suddenly “educate resident to use call light” doesn’t make as much sense. Instead, consider:

“Keep bedside table within reach.”
“Change timing of bathroom schedule to better anticipate resident’s needs.”
“Ask resident if they need to use bathroom after meals and 60 minutes after going to bed.”
“Set sleep timer on resident television to keep him from getting up to turn off.”
“Leave bathroom light on for safer way-finding to bathroom.”

Each of these interventions would have to be specific to the question, “what was the resident trying to do,” but hopefully you understand the rationale behind these examples.

There are other reasons to avoid the “educate on call light use” intervention. The MDS must indicate that the resident has perfect short term and long term memory, has full physical ability to use the call light, and that the same intervention has not been listed previously. It’s a tough battle with surveyors, one I’ve lost in the past.  Finally, resident education should be documented in the record or in the incident report – and usually is not.

Avoid this ineffective intervention and keep your team focused on root cause analysis when analyzing a resident fall or updating their care plan.


longtermcarespecialist said...

while the "use call light" approach may still be of help, there will be chances that the caregiver may not be able to immediately attend to the call. i agree with the few tips you posted. those can also help the residents to be independent

Dr. El said...

Those are excellent suggestions, especially since even if the resident is educated to use the light, it doesn't always mean it will be answered in a timely fashion. I particularly like the ideas that prevent the problem by increasing the control of the resident (keeping the bedside table within reach, using a sleep timer for the TV, leaving the bathroom light on). I find when dealing with these issues it's frequently easier to change the behavior/situation of one resident than it is to alter the behavior of a multitude of busy staff members.

ananursinguk said...

while the "use alarm light" access may still be of help, there will be affairs that the caregiver may not be able to anon appear to the call. i accede with the few tips you posted. those can additionally advice the association to be absolute

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Mary Swetka Yu said...

Smart - I like that you're thinking outside the box