Sydney, Australia – Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) has announced it is collaborating with researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) in a European project, iStoppFalls, to develop technologies to predict and prevent falls in older adults. The aim of iStoppFalls is to develop new technologies which can support the safety of older people who live alone, by preventing falls in the home. The project is intended to strengthen collaboration between research and technology to provide tailored solutions for the ageing society, and thus contribute to Australian and European competitiveness and excellence.
Philips Research a key collaborator to the iStoppFalls project is working with NeuRA to develop and test a senior mobility monitor device that will unobtrusively assess the balance and mobility of participants. Philips, already a leader in fall detection with its Lifeline with AutoAlert pendant-style help button believes technology will play an integral role not only in detecting falls but reducing them in the first place.
Harry van Dyk, Country Manager for Philips Electronics Australia hopes this collaboration will ignite the use of technology to support independent living in Australia. “Philips is invested in developing products and solutions that will enable active independent living in the home. In Australia, we are focused on both testing and developing fall detection and prevention solutions, as well as introducing other assistive technologies such as medication dispensing devices.”
Among seniors, falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma, as well as injury-related deaths1. Close to 50 percent of seniors can’t get up from a fall without help2 and lying on the floor for an extended period of time can lead to serious complications, including: pressure ulcers, muscle necrosis, dehydration, hypothermia and pneumonia. The care and treatment of these potentially preventable complications are costly to the healthcare system and negatively impact quality of life for seniors.
Dr. Kim Delbaere, lead investigator of the Australian team, explained that “Despite available evidence and clinical guidelines to support interventions for preventing falls in older people, implementation remains low. This is mainly due to the high cost in both time and resources of the recommended individualized approach. Technology-based solutions have potential to reduce costs while maintaining individualized, high quality healthcare.” she said.
Modern information and communication technologies (ICT) in the field of sensor technology, telemedicine and home entertainment can support such activities in older people’s homes. The iStoppFalls project will take the novel approach of developing an exercise-based videogame to deliver fall prevention training into the homes of older adults. According to Dr Stuart Smith (NeuRA), the use of videogames could also enable us to increase overall levels of physical activity in older adults. “Exercise is the key to better health and our videogame solutions are a novel way to engage older adults in repetitive, balance improving exercise. Exercise is absolutely one of the cheapest preventative health solutions.”
The research project will be funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) and the Australian Government
- Neuroscience Research Australia, Australia
- Philips Research Europe, Netherlands
- University of Siegen, Germany
- German Sport University of Cologne, Germany
- Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria
- Institute for Biomechanics of Valencia, Spain
- Kaasa Solution GmbH, Germany
1. CDC, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Fact Sheet on Falls. http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/adultfalls.html. Originally from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web–based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online]. (2005)
2. Falls, fractures, and injury, Merck Manual of Geriatrics, Section 2, Chapter 20, Topic: Falls. p.1. www.merck.com/mkgr/mmg/sec2/ch20/ch20a.jsp. Falls. p.1.