Sensors Used to Determine Slow Functional Decline in Assisted Living Residents

Researchers from the University of Missouri introduced the use of motion sensors in 86 assisted living resident’s rooms.

Approximately 85 other residents were treated with the usual care without the use of motion sensors. The motion sensors measured overall activity, breathing, restlessness and pulse, all with the help of an under-the-mattress motion tool. The sensors were also used to enable early detection of impending problems. Considering that around 40% of assisted living residents are assistance with three or more daily living activities, those still getting normal care could benefit from the activity assistance.

A gait sensor was also used to determine each resident’s speed, stride length, and the risk of a resident falling. Each resident who was a part of this experiment lived with their sensor for almost a year.

Staff members who worked with residents throughout this experiment received alerts when sensor data had changed. Every morning, the nurses working on this project would receive an email that included all of the alerts from the past 24 hours. Every member of the staff received real-time fall alerts so they could respond to the resident who had fallen immediately.

Researchers discovered a few things when study results came in. Their study revealed that those assisted living residents who received regular care had a faster functional decline than those using the sensors did. Researchers also discovered that using the sensors could aid in cutting costs for the assisted living community.

The researchers spoke with the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine regarding the study in October 2017.

“With the innovative technological solutions like the ones we tested in this study, elders can benefit from early detection and recognition of small changes in health conditions,” they told the magazine.

They also said that early detection can help to keep a resident out of the hospital or nursing home by allowing them to receive treatment when it’s needed.

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