July 2009 
Volume 39  Number 7
Pages 19 - 21
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Unobtrusive and comfortable, vigilance monitoring technology may significantly improve early recognition of patient distress. In a 12-month study at three Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, researchers tested a system designed to warn nurses about changes in a patient's heart rate and respiratory rate, and also provides a bed exit alert for fall prevention. Consisting of a mattress pad with embedded sensors, the system continuously monitors heart and respiratory rates and displays them on a bedside unit. If readings fall outside of normal ranges, it alerts nursing staff audibly and visually. The system also alarms if a patient leaves the bed. For the patient's comfort, the system requires no electrodes or other patient connections. ...

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