SafeMotion – integrated mobility safeguarding assistance system for patients suffering from dementia

The project “SafeMotion” will develop and evaluate a new, integrated mobility safeguarding assistance system for patients suffering from dementia with “medium severity”. The goal is to adapt the system for the needs of the patients as well as their immediate surrounding by using an adaptive rule based system so that the best possible support is provided in everyday situations. The cornerstones of this concept are: complete integration of system components into everyday objects, a minimal configuration overhead, and highest reliability of alarms in a distress situations.

Due to the aging of our society the problems related to old age are becoming increasingly relevant for our health care system. One of the challenges in this context is the rising number of patients suffering from dementia. This tendency necessarily leads to higher caring and supervision needs, in turn leading to higher costs. Additionally, the lack of orientation, restlessness and increased risk of falling are distressing for many patients’ relatives. This is an area in which information technology can be supportive. With the help of acceleration and localization sensors that are worn on the body, falls and the current position of a person can be detected. However the first products on the market show clear functional deficiencies (such as insufficient consideration of chains of response, no “intelligent zones” of movement, lack of open interfaces, etc.)

In this project the potential of mobility safeguarding systems will be studied in the combination of existing systems, together with the development of new functions. The goal is to implement and evaluate a mobility safeguarding assistance system for patients suffering from dementia with “medium severity”. Dementia patients, as well as their relatives and home-caring personnel should get everyday support from the system. The system should be designed in such a way that it can work discretely in the background and only provide its assistive support in emergency situations. This can be realized by using equipment that is worn on the body and integrated in everyday appliances while continuously monitoring the localization and automatically detecting risk situations (such as leaving a defined area or suffering a fall). For this, acceleration sensors are used to recognize falls and a GPS-receiver to measure the location of a patient. The sensor data will be transmitted via GSM/GPRS. In contrast to existing solutions, a rule bases system that can be adapted by relatives or caring personnel will be used to alarm flexibly assignable authorities in progressive stages. Additionally the concept of so called “intelligent zones” of movement will be used for optimal distress detection with a minimal configuration overhead. To facilitate this innovative leap in mobility safeguarding assistance, an interdisciplinary consortium was assembled for this undertaking. Covering all links of the value chain, proven competence in the areas of User Centered Design, sensor based information processing (Salzburg Research), exemplary practical experience in mobile home care (Salzburger Hilfswerk), experience in the evaluation of health care projects (Gesundheitsnetzwerk), and experience in developing IT-solutions for health care and transferring innovative projects into products (ilogs) are combined.