Falls are among the foremost perils to older adults, and the pace of the epidemic continues to rise. Some researchers have found an 8 percent increase in falls from 1998 to 2010 among adults age 65 and over.
Some foresee a solution in the ever-improving realm of artificial intelligence: the ability of hardware and software systems to “learn” from data recorded through ongoing use.
“Tech titans like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple already have made huge investments in artificial intelligence,” experts note. “Now, that approach is starting to trickle down into health care.”
AI generates tangible results. Driven by such technologies, some predict the outcomes of treatment could reduce healthcare costs by over 50 percent, while improving wellness outcomes by nearly another 50 percent.
How exactly does artificial intelligence help to promote wellness, especially when it comes to reducing the persistent threat of resident falls in senior living?
AI can turn a residence itself into a 24×7 care aide.
How would a falls prevention-and-detection system driven by artificial intelligence work? A network of environmentally embedded sensors passively record a resident’s functional vital signs including heart rate, respiratory rate, gait, walk speed, stride length and more – as well as the ordinary movements and physical actions performed in the course of a day. When fed into artificial intelligence software, it can not only recognize an elevated fall risk and passively alert staff for preventative action to avoid falls, but when a fall does occur, alert staff and approved family immediately with infrared video of the event for a faster response with enhanced information to better treat the resident. In one recent pilot study, AI has proven to be far more accurate in assessing fall risk than traditional methods, and has reduced falls by more than 70% over a nine month period. Given the fact that AI by its very nature only stands to improve as it continues to learn from its environment, these are promising results that could revolutionize quality of care in senior living.
AI can help leverage staff.
By interpreting a steady feed of functional vital signs, motion, and activity data, an artificial intelligence system can help an operator to better leverage staff. With AI driving automated risk notifications with ever-improving accuracy, it becomes possible for staff to devote attention where it is most needed: to the high-risk patients who are most likely to experience ambulatory incidents. Combining a variety of sensors with AI-powered analysis and health alerts frees up staff to devote more personal attention to residents at the highest risk of falling, allowing operators to better manage staffing levels and staff utilization while easing their jobs and improving overall quality of care..
AI is always there.
Staff members can only see so far and be in so many places at once. Artificial intelligence can greatly expand the care capabilities senior living operators can provide their residents and the possibilities of preventive action: Automated systems can deliver and interpret data on literally every resident, all the time. Staff can go about their business; seniors can be unencumbered by pendants and pull-cords. The massive analytic ability of AI extends the reach of staff, making it possible to dramatically lessen senior resident falls and other negative health incidents without intruding into their living spaces or inhibiting their independence.
For senior housing executives, artificial intelligence offers a powerful new capability in the ongoing effort to prevent, respond to, and remediate falls. Artificial intelligence-powered software is always learning on its own, can process more data with greater speed and depth than even the most experienced team of senior caregivers, and allows them to respond faster with better information for enhanced care. Seems like a possible game changing technology to us. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.