Caregivers know all too well that it sometimes takes a lot of sacrifice to make sure that their senior patients and loved ones are safe and secure in their own beds. More often than not, they have to give up their own time or delegate important tasks to other people just to look after their aging loved ones.

Caring for senior patients and loved ones requires constant supervision, and this can lead to stress, exhaustion, and burnout to you as a caretaker. That is why sensor pads bring a considerable relief because it allows you to become more flexible and still be able to provide immediate help if the senior under your care tries to get up from the bed or needs your assistance.

With the right kind of pressure sensor pad, you do not have to sit beside your patient's bed or sleep with one eye open. You can do other tasks, go for a rest in the living room, or do other errands while your senior loved one is tucked safely in their beds. When the patient tries to get up from the bed on their own, the sensor pad detects their movements and then sounds an alarm (or sends a vibrating alarm), alerting you to come to their aid.

There are sensor pads that are designed not just for use in the bed, but also for other areas such as toilets, chairs, and floors.

The following lists the common types of sensor pads and how each of them is used.

1) Long Range Paging Alarm System by Smart Caregiver – for bed, chair and floor alarm
What if you're working far away but you still have to monitor your senior loved one? The Long Range Paging Alarm from Smart Caregiver will be the solution. It allows you to monitor your patient from afar and alerts you to a potential fall or wandering risk on the part of the patient.

How it works:
Each unit includes a monitor box, a central interface unit with a camera and a long-range pager. You can also choose any of the following options to complete the system:

a) Bed sensor pads:
10" x 30" Bed Sensor Pad (for patients that weigh 120 lbs. or more)
20" x 30" Bed Sensor Pad (for patients that weight LESS than 120 lbs.)

These bed sensor pads allow the caregiver to receive an alert when the patient attempts to get out of bed. To be alerted when the patient tries to sit up, place the pad underneath the bed horizontally across the middle back or the shoulder area. To be alerted when the patient attempts to get out of bed, place the pad horizontally across the buttock or hip area.

b) 7" x 15" Chair Sensor Pad:
This chair sensor pad allows the caregiver to receive an alert when the patient attempts to stand up from a chair.

c) Floor mat sensors:
2' x 3' Floor Mat Sensor
2' x 4' Floor Mat Sensor

These floor mat sensors allow the caregiver to receive an alarm when the patient is moving about in a specific area. Floor mats are useful for exits or doorways (when a wandering patient attempts to get out of the house or hospital room, or a patient is about to go to the restroom, for example), or for use next to a bed.

Setting it up:
This system requires a 9-volt battery, which is placed into the monitor box. Install the sensor on the bed, chair or floor. Next, connect the sensor to the monitor box. Install the central interface unit on the wall within 150 feet of the monitor box, then insert three AA batteries in your pager.

2) Tidy Toilet Sensor Pad by Smart Caregiver
The Tidy Toilet Sensor Pad, another product from Smart Caregiver, can be used with Smart Caregiver fall prevention alarms (models TL-2004E, TL-2100B, TL-2100S, TL-2100V, TL-2016R3/5 and TL-3100/V, all sold separately). The sensor pad and any of these fall prevention alarms should be used together to complete a system.

How it works:
It is designed to give the patient more privacy in the restroom and to alert the caregivers as soon as the patient is done using the toilet and decides to get up.

The sensor pad is placed underneath the toilet seat and is connected to a cord of the fall prevention alarm. When the patient sits down on the toilet, the system recognizes pressure. As soon as the patient is done using the toilet and attempts to stand up, the system detects the release of pressure and sends an alarm to the caregiver or medical staff who will immediately come to the patient's aid.

The Tidy Toilet Sensor Pad is an excellent choice to augment to your fall prevention program. It is also liquid-resistant, so it will still function normally even if it's splashed with water or urine. When you purchase this product, make sure that it comes with a 30-day warranty.

3) Chair Alarm System
This chair sensor pad allows the caregiver to receive an alert when the patient attempts to get up from sitting (an ordinary chair or a wheelchair).

One package consists of an alarm with a 10" x 15" chair sensor pad, which has a three-foot cord.

How it works:
Place a pad under the patient's chair. Connect the pad's cord to the alarm and clip it securely into the alarm monitor with a connection that is akin to a phone jack. Hang the alarm on the chair or any area that is conveniently near the pad. As soon as the patient starts to get up from the chair, the chair alarm will emit a sound, alarming you to their aid. To turn off the alarm, simply press the reset button.

If you're using a cushion for the chair, please be reminded that certain types of cushions (such as memory foam, gel, air-filled, etc.), can cause false alarm responses. It's because any cushion takes the body pressure away from the pad, which may lead the pad to assume that the patient is no longer sitting on the chair, triggering an alarm.

These are a few of the ways pressure sensor pads can be used in the home. Kerr Medical is available to answer your questions or help you choose the right pressure sensor pad for your specific needs.