Reduction of Time on the Ground Related to Real-Time Video Detection of Falls in Memory Care Facilities: Observational Study
J Med Internet Res. 2021 Jun 17;23(6):e17551. doi: 10.2196/17551.
BACKGROUND: Lying on the floor for a long period of time has been described as a critical determinant of prognosis following a fall. In addition to fall-related injuries due to the trauma itself, prolonged immobilization on the floor results in a wide range of comorbidities and may double the risk of death in elderly. Thus, reducing the length of Time On the Ground (TOG) in fallers seems crucial in vulnerable individuals with cognitive disorders who cannot get up independently.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine the effect of a new technology called SafelyYou Guardian (SYG) on early post-fall care including reduction of Time Until staff Assistance (TUA) and TOG.
METHODS: SYG uses continuous video monitoring, artificial intelligence, secure networks, and customized computer applications to detect and notify caregivers about falls in real time while providing immediate access to video footage of falls. The present observational study was conducted in 6 California memory care facilities where SYG was installed in bedrooms of consenting residents and families. Fall events were video recorded over 10 months. During the baseline installation period (November 2017 to December 2017), SYG video captures of falls were not provided on a regular basis to facility staff review. During a second period (January 2018 to April 2018), video captures were delivered to facility staff on a regular weekly basis. During the third period (May 2018 to August 2018), real-time notification (RTN) of any fall was provided to facility staff. Two digital markers (TUA, TOG) were automatically measured and compared between the baseline period (first 2 months) and the RTN period (last 4 months). The total number of falls including those happening outside of the bedroom (such as common areas and bathrooms) was separately reported by facility staff.
RESULTS: A total of 436 falls were recorded in 66 participants suffering from Alzheimer disease or related dementias (mean age 87 years; minimum 65, maximum 104 years). Over 80% of the falls happened in bedrooms, with two-thirds occurring overnight (8 PM to 8 AM). While only 8.1% (22/272) of falls were scored as moderate or severe, fallers were not able to stand up alone in 97.6% (247/253) of the cases. Reductions of 28.3 (CI 19.6-37.1) minutes in TUA and 29.6 (CI 20.3-38.9) minutes in TOG were observed between the baseline and RTN periods. The proportion of fallers with TOG >1 hour fell from 31% (8/26; baseline) to zero events (RTN period). During the RTN period, 76.6% (108/141) of fallers received human staff assistance in less than 10 minutes, and 55.3% (78/141) of them spent less than 10 minutes on the ground.
CONCLUSIONS: SYG technology is capable of reducing TOG and TUA while efficiently covering the area (bedroom) and time zone (nighttime) that are at highest risk. After 6 months of SYG monitoring, TOG was reduced by a factor of 3. The drastic reduction of TOG is likely to decrease secondary comorbid complications, improve post-fall prognosis, and reduce health care costs.