Innovate UK (SBRI) - SAFE (December 15 – May 16)
The SAFE project set out to develop an innovative new product that would help clinicians prevent the escalating number of in-patient falls at hospitals. The criteria for the SAFE system included the functionality to monitor a patient 24/7, in variable light levels, and without intruding on patient privacy.
The solution is a system that utilises a thermal sensor built into a Smart Monitoring Unit (SMU) installed above the patient’s bed. The thermal sensor only sees an outline of the patient and it does not include any patient identifiable data such as name, gender, age or race. The SMU is connected to a monitoring server running the SAFE analytic(al) algorithms, which processes the data from the thermal sensor to detect the patient’s position in a bed in real-time. Each monitoring server can control up to 100 SMUs if required.
The SAFE system can identify when a patient’s position poses a high risk of a fall or involuntary bed exit based on predefined classifications. The sensitivity of the SAFE system can be adjusted by the clinicians to suit each patient’s individual needs. This flexibility in sensitivity is a major benefit to clinicians as it significantly reduces the number of false alarms compared to other fall alarm systems such as pressure mats and passive infrared devices.
SAFE started out as a bed monitoring system, but Rinicare has now developed it to include functionalities to monitor patients in chairs, corridors, and bathrooms. This diversification will allow SAFE to be adopted by nursing homes and protected residential care providers in addition to hospitals.
The SAFE system offers a number of exciting benefits to both patients and clinicians. Contrary to many other fall monitoring systems the SAFE system does not stigmatise a patient by requiring them to wear a big sensor on their bodies; SAFE sits discreetly on the ceiling just like a common smoke detector. The patients do not need to remember to activate the SAFE system in any way either. Clinicians can use the SAFE system to better manage the resources needed to check up on patients, which reduced the number of interruptions, especially at night, for the patients.
The ultimate goal of the SAFE system is to help clinicians to reduce the number of injuries and accidents from in-patient falls, which is a significant expenditure to the healthcare budget due to costs associated with additional treatments and extended length of stays.
Rinicare’s SAFE system will provide healthcare service providers with a state-of-the-art fall detection and prevention system that will not only help to improve the quality of care, but it will also help reduce the costs of preventable in-patient falls.
The SAFE project received funding of £99,600 from SBRI Healthcare for a six-month feasibility study.