Utilization of Fall Preventive Sensors and Moral Sensitivity

Friday, 25 July 2014

Miho Matsui, RN, PhD
Department of Gerontological Nursing, National Defense Medical College, Tokorozawa, Japan

Purpose: Using fall preventive sensors among hospitalized older adults is a kind of restraint and remains an important issue. Alarm sensors are effective to prevent patient’s falls, however, a report revealed that patients felt they are under watch by using these devices. The purpose of this study is to examine relationships between use of fall preventive sensors and staff’s moral sensitivity in hospital settings.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using questionnaire. Two Japanese hospital staffs including nurses and care workers received the questionnaire. Survey items included demographics, utilization and perception of using fall preventive sensors, and staff’s moral sensitivity.  Moral sensitivity was assessed by Japanese version of the revised Moral Sensitivity Questionnaire (J-MSQ).  J-MSQ is 9 item questionnaire measures consisting of three sub-categories of Moral Strength (MS), Sense of Moral Burden (SMB), and Moral Responsibility (MR). Each item is ranked on a 6-point Likerttype scale.

Results: The questionnaire was distributed to 241 staffs and was returned by 208 (response rate 86.3%), 206 were valid response (85.5%). The sample had a mean age of 34.7 years (SD 9.8, range 20–63 years) and had been nursing for an average of 11.2 years (SD 9.3, range 0.3–35years). The majority of respondents were women (92.6%). Most all subjects (98.1%) used fall preventive sensors in their current ward. Perception of using fall preventive sensors, 69.7% thought patient could be under stress using sensors, 41.5% would respect patient’s self-esteem, 19.5% did not want to use sensors because of considering restraint, and 15.9% thought utilization of sensors is an invasion of human rights. These responses were significantly associated with moral sensitivity assessed by SMB and MR of the J-MSQ.

Conclusion: Although most staffs used sensors in the current ward, perception of using fall preventive sensors and staff’s moral sensitivity were significantly related. These results suggest that staff’s moral sensitivity is an important factor to reduce utilization of these devices in clinical settings.