Conference Paper

Use of wearable technology to quantify fall risk in psychogeriatric environments: a feasability study

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Abstract

Fall incidents with elderly suffering from psychological pathologies, in combination with a comorbidity of clinical problems are highly prevalent. In our research setting, the psychiatric hospital OPZ in Geel, Belgium, 1790 fall incidents were recorded with 283 patients since 2013. The nature of the patients' profiles makes a valid, objective fall risk assessment very difficult; for them, instructions to perform the tests are difficult to understand and execute. Therefore, the currently used instruments are not suited for this complex situation. In this study we propose an alternative system for the assessment of fall risk for patients of a psychogeriatric ward. We also study the essential precautions needed for acceptance of wearables in this complex setting.We collected individual daily mean gait speeds of 17 patients at a psychogeriatric ward over a period of five months. We show that it is possible, using wearable technology, to measure individual gait speed. We also show that it is possible to have the wearable technology accepted by the target group. The results obtained so far are promising to use automatical gait measurement to correlate to the currently used risk assessment tests and to eventually replace these tests.

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