ENTERPRISE TRACK

Predicting & Preventing Falls

Contributed by St Luke's

How might we better predict and prevent falls of seniors in Senior Care Centres (SCCs)?

Falls could happen to all seniors: Seniors who are ambulant or less frail; frail seniors; and seniors living with dementia.


After a fall, seniors may take much longer to recover and regain their mobility and this increases the risk of further falls. This affects their quality of life and life expectancy adversely. This also significantly impacts the lives of their caregivers by increasing dependency levels.


There is also a high element of unpredictability when preventing a senior from falling despite staff members helping a senior. Falls are more likely to happen when:

 

  • A senior’s physical health has deteriorated without any clear signs for staff members to note;
     

  • A senior attempts to stand or walk without a centre staff attending to him/her in time. This could lead to a senior falling because of a lack of strength or tripping over objects in their path;

  • An ambulant senior, who is normally moving independently, trips or suddenly loses mobility in an area where staff members have no line of sight or cannot react in a split second to prevent the fall.

Solutions presently available tend to focus on detecting a fall after it occurs. We are looking for solutions that can provide real-time monitoring to assess the seniors’ health-based indicators to provide predictive fall susceptibility (i.e. determine possibility of a fall of individual seniors), to pre-emptively warn staff or even flag emerging conditions to prompt long-term interventions for improved future mobility.


This should be complemented by a study over time on the conditions of the seniors and/or the environment. This solution will help ensure the safety and quality of life for all seniors, and the continued independence for ambulant seniors at the centres.