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Using next generation technology for falls prevention

Posted 19 February 2018

There are now social and, importantly, financial incentives for the elderly to stay in their homes longer by receiving the required services they may once have only been able to get from a Residential Aged Care (RAC) facility.

There is no doubt that there are positive financial outcomes for the tax payer that come via the government’s policy framework (to incentivise the elderly to stay in their homes longer). That notwithstanding, as with any policy-driven approach, there can be unintended consequences.

One of these is that citizens are entering RAC at higher levels of acuity. That is, they are staying in their homes much longer than they would have twenty or more years ago. Add to that, people in Australia are, on average, living longer. Which means that post 80, they have a longer stretch of frailty.

Thus, the context of people entering RAC at an older age and further, being frailer (logically) at the same time, means that this in itself increases the frequency or likelihood of increased risk of falls and some of which (a subset), will be preventable.

Resident falls within Residential Aged Care (RAC) are a significant problem. “Avoidable falls” is a problem worth solving. Any reduction in avoidable falls will have a large and positive societal outcome. The families win, the resident wins, the provider (owner of the RAC Facility) wins and importantly, the tax payer wins (reduced number of hospital visits, etc.).

Technologies need to conceptualise the development of product/systems/processes that target the prevention of avoidable falls. That is, beyond predictive reporting/systems to preventative analytics.

Advance analytics delivered via new technologies could be designed in such a way that the industry (context) would have an opportunity to benefit from predictive analytics (data sets) that can be “morphed” into a set of prevention strategies.

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