As the population ages, the issue of falls among older adults is becoming increasingly important. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional deaths by injury worldwide. It is estimated that one in three older adults experience falls each year. Many healthcare settings and senior living communities are looking to AI as a key component of their fall prevention programs.
Why Preventing Falls is Important for Seniors
Falls can have serious consequences for seniors. For instance, falls can cause broken bones, which can be very painful and take a long time to heal. Falls can also cause serious head injuries that could be fatal. Seniors who fall may also experience a loss of independence, as they may be afraid to leave their homes or participate in activities they used to enjoy.
Furthermore, falls can be expensive for the healthcare system. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the cost of fall injuries in the United States alone was $50 billion in 2015. This number is expected to rise as the population ages.
How AI Can Help Prevent Falls in Seniors
As AI develops and learns it can play a critical role in preventing falls among seniors. It can be used to monitor movements and alert caregivers and family members when they detect a potential fall risk. By tracking the individual’s movement throughout the day, the technology is able to help identify any patterns or activities that may be contributing to their fall risk.
In addition, AI can be used to analyze data from wearable devices such as fitness trackers or smartwatches to help identify changes in behavior or movements that may indicate an increased risk of falling. This information can then be used to develop personalized fall prevention plans for seniors.
Another way AI can help prevent falls is through the use of virtual reality (VR) technology. VR can be used to simulate real-world environments and situations, allowing seniors to practice their balance and mobility in a safe and controlled environment helping to build confidence and reduce the risk of falls.
Inspir Carnegie Hill Pilots AI Technology
We recently completed a six-month implementation of a pilot program designed to reduce falls among our residents. We worked with AUGI (for Augmented Intelligence) – the world’s first cognitive resident care assistant that provides unparalleled visibility and insights into the care environment. To understand more about how the technology works we had a conversation with Michael Wang, the founder of Inspiren an award-winning healthcare technology company. Inspiren's flagship solution, AUGI (Augmented Intelligence), has received an Edison Award, Fast Company's Innovation by Design Award for Artificial Intelligence, and Time Magazine's Best Inventions.
The inspiration for AUGI came after witnessing preventable suffering among many of his patients and experiencing the loss of his grandmother due to a fall. Wang told us “While I worked at the bedside of patients in the #1 hospital in New York in the best funded unit in the institution, I was deeply frustrated by how helpless I felt about preventing patient falls, pressure injuries, and the overall lack of sophisticated tools that could improve patient safety.” Fueled by this frustration and the loss of his grandmother, Wang was determined to create something that could significantly prevent the unnecessary suffering.
The importance of fall prevention for seniors cannot be overstated. Wang continued, “A fall is the difference between an elderly person being able to continue to live with a high quality of life or to a fast-downward spiral towards losing autonomy and independence. A fall impacts a resident both physically and psychologically. AUGI’s sophisticated A.I. specializes in preventing falls from happening by analyzing the overall behavior of the resident and combines data points such as gait analysis, out-of-bed habits, balance, and social interactions. AUGI also allows staff to drastically increase the number of touchpoints between them and the residents. By using our seamless virtual rounding feature, staff increases their touch points with residents by as much as 250%.
In addition to assisting with fall prevention, AUGI also supports care teams. As Wang describes, “the never tiring and always vigilant assistant to every caregiver.” The AI system alerts staff when potential danger is detected, allowing for quick intervention. It also decreases the physical exertion of staff by allowing them to check on residents from anywhere in the unit. This automation helps to increase the efficiency of the staff and decrease burnout and high turnover, which is especially important during a time when the senior living industry is struggling to find and retain employees.
Finally, we asked Wang about the fear of AI such as AUGI taking away from human care – he emphasized that “AUGI augments the caring capacity of our caregivers by monitoring the repetitive and mundane clinical tasks into high-quality touch points that will have a significant impact on the resident’s quality of life. By automating the patient checking process, AUGI allows caregivers to care more and engage in quality interactions with residents more than ever before. AUGI amplifies the power of the staff by streamlining care coordination and making it easier to keep the residents safe.
After the six-month pilot program our care team reported 400 AI driven “saves” for its most vulnerable population of care residents. These preliminary findings offer tremendous hope for residents and the care team at Inspīr Carnegie Hill but also the entire senior living industry. We look forward to continuing to enhance our care through AI technology.