Patient Sitters: Protecting Patients While Keeping Costs Down


No one goes to a hospital expecting to fall. A safe hospital stay is a reasonable expectation of every patient. Tragically, patient falls in hospitals can lead to an extended hospital stay and even significant injury. When Collette Health is installed as a fall avoidance tool, hospitals can not only keep patients safer, but also save hundreds of thousands of dollars in fall-related costs.

How much does a fall cost?

Falls have been deemed a “never event” by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality), which means that reimbursement for patient falls in severely limited. However, every year, 700,000 to 1,000,000 patient falls occur in US hospitals with roughly 250,000 of those falls leading to injury (Source: NCBI). Of those patients who fall, 30%-35% will sustain an injury, and each injury, on average, adds more than six days to a patient’s hospital stay. (Source: Market Scale). That adds up to an average cost of a fall with injury to more than $14,000 per patient. (Source: Market Scale). So the question is, how can we prevent patient falls?

How do we stop inpatient falls?

The best way to reduce inpatient falls, is to stop those falls before they happen with a remote observation system like Collette Health. With remote observation, patient observers are trained to help prevent adverse events. With an observer, a patient is never truly alone. If they enter a dangerous situation, an observer is there to re-direct them or alert onsite medical staff.

Historically, if a patient was at high risk of injury, a 1:1 sitter would be assigned to them. This is both invasive and requires significant staff resources. In contrast, remote observers are unobtrusive, and are less demanding on hospital staff. It is easy for a patient to forget that they are under continuous remote observation and can thus settle in and feel more comfortable during their stay. Since remote observers can monitor more patients at one time, there are more opportunities for patients at all risk levels to benefit from observation. Overall, there is more capacity for observation which means more patients can be kept safe.

Keeping Patients Safe

The patient sitter is put in a control center and can watch anything that will help prevent the patient from harming themselves or others. The Collette Health devices allow a close view of the patient, zoom-in and zoom-out panning to catch any conditions in the room that could cause the patient to fall, and privacy settings to help ensure the patient feels comfortable while being observed. 

And what if something happens or is about to happen? How does Virtual Observation prevent falls, wandering patients, self-harm, or other potential issues? There are a variety of tools within Collette Health to escalate potential harm, like alarms that alert nurses to an issue or possible issue like a patient too close to the edge of a bed or leaving their room; verbal commands that advise the patient to change a dangerous behavior; and reporting tools that allow PSOs to record issues as written notes or take photos of patient rooms. The information they share can make clinical staff or other PSOs aware of things to watch. 

If you are interested in installing Collette Health in your healthcare facility, visit our Contact Us page now.