With increasing numbers of frail elderly, is smart flooring a useful strategy for falls detection and reduction?

  • YEAR
    Chintanu, Yolanda
    Waycott, Jenny
    Newton, Clare
    2019 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Role of Occupants


The incidence of falls in residential aged care facilities is considerably higher than other
settings, such as in people’s own homes, and on average, half of a facility’s residents will fall in any year. Despite recent advances in falls prevention research, most of the evidence focuses on falls prevention in independent living settings with relatively few studies based in residential aged care, and even fewer focusing on the role of technology in the prevention of falls. The hidden costs of falls include change behaviours, activity restriction, reduced independence and social isolation. Sensor-based “smart” flooring is now being used in some aged care settings to alert nursing staff and enable timely help. Marketing literature claims this can reduce, as well as detect, falls. We investigated these claims by conducting case study research, which involved observing the use of the flooring and interviewing key
staff on the floor and in management at one residential facility. Our findings suggest that smart flooring does contribute to reducing falls and has a generally positive impact on staff workflow, although there are challenges in making full effective use of smart flooring, with staff required to modify their behaviour to prevent false alarms.

Keywords: Smart flooring; residential aged care facilities; falls detection and prevention; technology for ageing.


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