NEW HIGH TECNOLOGY! Kalle Heiska science journalist
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The Emfit safety mat identifies footsteps and calls the mobile phone
Safety in nursing care for old people easily and inexpensively

The safety mat identifies the old person's footsteps on the floor by the bed.
Photo: Emfit Oy
Emfit Oy have brought onto the market an easy and inexpensive way to improve the safety of elderly people inclined to wander. The safety mat developed by the company identifies footsteps and automatically calls the mobile phone of the night nurse or caregiver. The first safety mats in residential care homes have lightened the carers' workload and possibly even saved old people from burns and death.

The safety mat is a thin electro-mechanical film which is sensitive to touch and covered with a thin plastic mat. It can also be covered by a normal thin doormat. The safety mat identifies footsteps, which activates an automatic phonecall to a mobile phone. If there is no response to the first phonecall the call is transferred to 1-2 other mobile phones.

Leena Seppälä, nurse-in-charge at the Ruusula residential home is very satisfied that during the night the safety mat rapidly sends a message to the nurse's mobile phone about possible footsteps inside the front door.
High resolution image
Photo: Heli Nikunen
Alarms from the safety mat come to the nurse's mobile phone from the client's footsteps beside the bed or, for example, at night-time from residents' footsteps just inside the front door. A similar alarm can be installed in the bed under the mattress.
Photo: Emfit Oy
Since last autumn the Ruusula residential home in Kuusankoski has used safety mats by its outside doors. Most of the residents are in good condition, but one third suffer from dementia. During the night one nurse is responsible for the care of residents in two buildings. Leena Seppälä, nurse-in-charge, says that some of the residents are inclined to try to wander out of the building, especially during evenings and nights. For example, one night in January the safety mat signalled that someone was moving around just inside the front door. The night nurse found a scantily clad resident who was not even known to be inclined to wander.

The safety mat can also promote the retention of the old person's self-sufficiency. A mat placed by the bed can alert the nurse at once if the old person is getting up. Speedy assistance can prevent a fall and the risk of a broken hip.

Pekka Savolainen, acting manager of the Levänen service centre in Kuopio, says that the safety mat means better quality of life for the old person and savings in care costs. An alarm call to a mobile phone is much more practical that a buzzer or bellboard in the corridor. Mr. Savolainen believes that the safety mat will be much in demand, especially due to the very demanding care of demented residents.

The Levänen service centre is also using the Emfit bed alarm, which is similar to the safety mat and installed under the mattress. It can be set to give the alarm during the night, for example if the resident, having got up, does not return to bed within a certain time. Thanks to the bed alarm and the safety mat Arja Pelkonen, night nurse at the centre, says that she feels less anxious about her work, as on nightshift she is responsible for the residents on two floors.

The safety mat can also be placed under the mattress, when it identifies whether the resident is in bed or up. In such cases it can be set to alert the nurse's mobile phone for a check if the resident has been on the move for too long.

Other examples of the use of the safety mat include boats and as a burglar alarm in people's homes.

More information:

Emfit Oy
Toni Parikka, product manager
Tel. +358 14 332 9000
Kuusankosken kaupunki
Leena Seppälä, nurse-in-charge
Tel. +358 5 379 2282
Kuopion kaupunki
Pekka Savolainen, acting manager
Tel. +358 17 185 841

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
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