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Preventing Patient Falls

Xetal nv, a pioneering Belgian company, has appointed Delta Medical International (DMI) as its exclusive distributor for the UK, Ireland and Mexico.  It is anticipated that DMI will also distribute the product in other regions in the near future, working with its established international partners.

The number of patients admitted to hospital or in nursing care with dementia or in a confused state is increasing. As life expectancy increases the percentage of elderly patients who are unsteady on their feet rises in proportion. In the UK the National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) have both identified this as a significant problem 1, 2.  The RCP’s 2015 Audit Report noted that there were over 240,000 inpatient falls reported by NHS Trusts annually.

The impact of NHS budget constraints on hospital staffing levels and workloads can often make constant supervision of all patients difficult. This inevitably leads to higher incidence of accidents as patients try to leave their beds unaided.

The cost to hospitals and care homes following patient falls, especially where fractures ensue, are considerable 1, 2. The RCP reported that the cost to the NHS of inpatient falls in 2007 was over £15 million and is believed to be even greater now. The impact on the individual can be dramatic in both the short and longer term and avoiding falls in this population of vulnerable patients is essential for them, their family and the healthcare provider.

The Xetal product is able to detect when a patient is moving in a way that indicates they are preparing to get out of their bed.  Importantly, the system can also detect if a carer is present, avoiding the nuisance of false alarms.  This unique combination ensures that alerts are reliably provided in good time.

The system is typically connected to the hospital’s existing nurse call system.  There is also an option to send a text message or make a call to a designated phone number where this is more practical.

DMI Managing Director, Nick Bettles, said: “This product is a ground-breaking invention.  The cost to a healthcare provider if a single patient sustains a fracture due to a fall typically far outweighs the installation of the Xetal system hospital-wide for all at-risk patients.  There are further significant potential savings by reducing the costs of litigation and insurance costs.  With an ever-increasing number of vulnerable patients in hospitals and nursing or care homes we believe this system can deliver incredible benefits to healthcare providers. Hospitals could also consider this as part of a multifactorial intervention process as defined in NICE CG161.”

To visit the Xetal web site please click here

  1. National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE). Falls in older people: assessing risk and prevention.  NICE Clinical Guideline CG161, 2013.
  2. Royal College of Physicians (UK).  National audit of inpatient falls: Audit Report 2015.  Falls & Fragility Fracture Audit Programme, 2015.

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Delta Medical International has particular expertise in the neonatal, maternity, perioperative, emergency, intensive care and paediatric departments, although our wider experience in biomedical engineering and medical product design takes us to many other areas of the hospital market.