Background: Falls of individuals with dementia are frequent, dangerous, and costly. Early detection and access to the history of a fall is crucial for efficient care and secondary prevention in cognitively impaired individuals. However, most falls remain unwitnessed events. Furthermore, understanding why and how a fall occurred is a challenge. Video capture and secure transmission of real-world falls thus stands as a promising assistive tool.
Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze how continuous video monitoring and review of falls of individuals with dementia can support better quality of care.
Methods: A pilot observational study (July-September 2016) was carried out in a Californian memory care facility. Falls were video-captured (24×7), thanks to 43 wall-mounted cameras (deployed in all common areas and in 10 out of 40 private bedrooms of consenting residents and families). Video review was provided to facility staff, thanks to a customized mobile device app. The outcome measures were the count of residents’ falls happening in the video-covered areas, the acceptability of video recording, the analysis of video review, and video replay possibilities for care practice.
Results: Over 3 months, 16 falls were video-captured. A drop in fall rate was observed in the last month of the study. Acceptability was good. Video review enabled screening for the severity of falls and fall-related injuries. Video replay enabled identifying cognitive-behavioral deficiencies and environmental circumstances contributing to the fall. This allowed for secondary prevention in high-risk multi-faller individuals and for updated facility care policies regarding a safer living environment for all residents.
Conclusions: Video monitoring offers high potential to support conventional care in memory care facilities.