We speak with many communities that are "alarm free". They are either in the process of or have already phased out tag and bed pad alarms, and for good reason. They didn't work.
First they didn't alert soon enough. By the time staff heard the alarm they knew the resident was on the floor. The purpose of these alarms was to prevent falls not alert you when they happen, so in this way they were pretty poor.
Second they were loud. The audible alarm scared residents, disturbed sleep, and made residents afraid to get up. Studies have shown alarms caused more falls than they prevented. Another strike for a solution meant to prevent falls.
Lastly, staff were stuck staring down a hallway not knowing what room the alarm was coming from. They heard so many alarms and they were so useless, they eventually started ignoring them. Strike three.
So alarms just didn't work, and because of this "alarm free" became a thing. Many communities found that after removing alarms falls decreased. Staff became more proactive instead of reactive to resident's needs, and life got better. This was good news.
But then something started to happen. We don't have hard data to prove this (we're looking for it!), but we've heard anecdotally from many alarm free communities that after some time falls started to increase. It's not completely clear why this happens, but some think it's the result of an aging and more fragile population, others think it's negligence, others think there is just a subset of residents (frequent fallers) that need a solution.
What is your experience? Have you seen this trend? What do you think causes it?