The objective of the PRE-fall project is to develop an E-health application and sensor solutions enabling the detection of early deteriorations in physical ability which are related to an increased fall risk, and to decrease the risk through the provision of personalized support. The sensor solutions and user interfaces are developed in user-centered iterative design processes.
Project manager at MDU
Description of the project
Statistics from the Swedish insurance agency AFA Försäkring, show that falls occurring at Swedish workplaces result in 11,000 fall injuries every year. The majority, 8,000, is the result of falls at the same level, i.e., falls where the person tripped on the ground/floor rather than fell from a higher level. The proportion of workers suffering from fall injuries increases with age and is highest among older working women.
From a global perspective, the majority of age-related deteriorations in physical abilities occur at the age of 60 and according to WHO, 30% of all above 65 and 50% of all above 85 fall at least once per year. In Sweden alone, three older persons die after falling every day. For the Swedish society, the total cost related to fall injuries among older people is 16.8 billion SEK per year. The estimated direct cost for regions and municipalities is 11.3 billion SEK. The remaining 5,6 billion SEK are indirect costs for acquaintances providing informal care and reduced quality of life.
Ageing cannot be avoided but it is possible to strengthen our current physical abilities and to delay the age-related deteriorations in physical abilities. Good habits in the middle-age contribute to good physical abilities later in life. Early prevention is necessary if we are to avoid falls throughout our working life, particularly in some professions. It also reduces the risk of fall injuries while aging.
Today, healthcare has no method allowing for early detection, and monitoring, of age-related deteriorations in physical abilities related to an increased fall risk. This is necessary if we are to avoid, or reduce, the physical deficiencies. Hence, it is important to develop technologies/methods to identify these deficiencies.
Physical test exercises for detecting early deteriorations in physical ability which are related to an increased fall risk, questionnaires and movies of everyday situations performed in different ways were developed and evaluated in a prior project, STARK. The research participants in STARK were asked to state which movies corresponded to the way in which they perform the everyday activities. The aim of the questions was to assess their thoughts on the ability to keep the balance in different situations.
The objective of the PRE-fall project is to develop and evaluate an E-health application and sensor solutions enabling the detection of early deteriorations in physical ability which are related to an increased fall risk, and to decrease the risk through the provision of personalized support. The sensor solutions and user interfaces are developed in user-centered iterative design processes. The project makes use of results from the prior project STARK.
The system prototypes will be developed in a user-centered iterative design process and in co-production between academia and industry. The consortium consists of MDU, Atea Sverige AB (with expertise in (1) rules and regulations of IT-infrastructures and GDPR, and (2) development of systems for the health care sector), and Motion Control i Västerås AB (with expertise in electronics, sensors, and sensor systems).
The project is divided in four phases. In phase 1, an E-health application and sensor solutions are developed and evaluated. In phase 2, the E-health application and a subset of the sensor solutions are evaluated in an RCT-study. In phase 3, the E-health application and sensor solutions are further developed based on the results obtained during the RCT-study. Longitudinal effects will be studied in phase 4.
PRE-fall will advance state-of-the-art in the following areas:
- E-health application allowing adults to early identify deteriorated physical abilities related to an increased fall risk without the need for support by care professionals and through this identification reduce their fall risk. This includes knowledge on design principles for user interfaces (UIs) which: (1) allow adults to perform a self-test of their fall risk, (2) for interacting with adults regarding fall risk and change of fall risk, in a personalized way, and (3) for a persuasive system reducing the fall risk by adapting to the mental models of the adults.
- Sensor solutions for identifying more subtle information on fall risk and detecting early deteriorated physical abilities in daily life.
- Knowledge on differences in early deteriorated physical ability and physiological parameters among younger, middle-aged and older adults.
- Knowledge on the longitudinal effects of the awareness of the physical ability related to fall risk.