Motion Sensor Lights Reducing Fall Risk for Patients at Night

Alison DeGrazia
Alison DeGrazia applied for a Family CARE Grant to get 10 motion sensor lights for inpatient rooms. They turn on automatically when a patient gets up at night, lighting the way in an unfamiliar room.

Every day, nurses in the surgical unit 3B at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre assess patients for fall risk. That risk increases at night when someone has to get out of a strange bed and navigate an unfamiliar room in the dark.

“When you’re in a semi-private room, you worry about your roommate, so you don’t turn the light on,” said Alison DeGrazia, Acting Manager of the 3B unit. “That makes it difficult to navigate with limited lighting.”

DeGrazia thought that motion sensor lights might help patients get the light they need, when they need it without disturbing others. She researched some possible solutions that would light up when a patient steps out of bed or even sits up in the night.

DeGrazia found exactly what she was looking for online from a popular office supply store. The LEDs are bright enough to light the way, but won’t disturb other patients in the room. The motion sensor is highly sensitive and turns on quickly. They are also versatile: the lights can hang off a hook, lay flat on a surface, or attach to a wall or headboard with a strip of Velcro.

However, as great as the idea was, DeGrazia wasn’t sure where she could find room in the budget to purchase them. Then she remembered the Volunteer Association and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation Family CARE Grant program.

“The timing was perfect – the submission period was almost up, so I put in an application for ten units,” DeGrazia said.

Right now, she is still trying to figure out what will work best for patients: next to the bed, under the bed for when they stand up, or some other configuration. But it’s such a helpful idea that she’s happy to share the word – and the lights – with other nursing staff in the Hospital.

Family CARE (“Care Advancements Recommended by Employees”) Grant program is a unique funding system. Family CARE Grants empower frontline employees to come up with their own ideas for improving patient care, then providing the funds to put those ideas into action. The program funds up to $60,000 in applications, often in small amounts that likely wouldn’t get funding any other way. They represent some of the biggest “bang for the buck” improvements to patient care, safety, and comfort at our Hospital.

You can help! Donate online at or call our Donation Centre today at (807) 345-4673 and ask to direct your gift to the Family CARE Grant program. We’ll ensure your donation goes directly towards a relatively small funding opportunity like this one that will still have such a large impact on the lives of our patients.