When the safety of elderly patients becomes a priority

Last year, a private health facility, Les Magnolias, tested a device to track, in real time, the wanderings or falls of its patients. A patch placed on the shoulder blades of each of the 320 elderly residents, containing sensors and connected to a central office, allowed staff to have a complete overview of the residents’ movements. Technological progress employed to benefit everyone, and to improve the ability of the most fragile people to move around. The idea has been a success, and other solutions based on geolocation or active connection are available.


Securing patients with mobile communication systems

As an example, the American Hospital in Paris has developed a mobile communication system to manage and secure all its patients. The system, which is set up in the hospital’s 150 rooms, allows 850 employees, including 400 doctors, to know who needs to intervene or who has intervened at the request of a particular patient. The management of information flows is organised in such a way as to mobilise the 4 or 5 people likely to respond as quickly and efficiently as possible in the event of a call. The alarms are sent by the staff or by the hospital patient, and without any loss of information.

Because, as Thierry-Alain Kervella, Director of Information Systems at the American Hospital in Paris, points out: “the fewer vocal interactions there are, the more dynamic the staff’s reaction can be…”


Home security, other solutions exist

For those who are still at home, other solutions exist. The French start-up, Co-Assist, is testing a connected bracelet that sends alerts and allows the movements of the person wearing it to be tracked. This ensures that relatives or doctors can receive precise information, which makes it an anti-wandering solution for people with Alzheimer’s disease, for example. This bracelet is a connected object that uses Sigfox’s low frequency and low power network, which ensures it will work autonomously for six months. But similar solutions may also appeal to health facilities or homes for the elderly. In Spain, for example, the Guttmann Institute, which specialises in neuro-rehabilitation, is testing a solution that allows patients to be geolocated and can also guide them as they move about within the institution. The operator T-Systems is using Bluetooth Low Energy technology in collaboration with Deveryware to deploy the solution in this hospital. This technology also makes it possible to record and transmit different physiological constants which make interventions by medical personnel faster, safer and more effective. A retrospective analysis of the data recorded can further improve patient safety and even lead to changes in the overall ergonomics of the institution.


Indoor geolocation to ensure the safety of people in their homes

Finally, there are now ways to ensure the safety of people within their homes. YouTakeCare offers an indoor geolocation solution. Sensors are installed and connected in the person’s house or flat; they learn and transmit the elderly person’s movements and habitual activity, and are then able to detect anomalies. This draws attention to fewer or slower movements, caused by weakness, or disrupted sleep which may indicate other possible pathological conditions. This unrestricted surveillance allows adequate intervention by the people in charge of the elderly person’s health, or their family, before any unfortunate accident occurs.

The accuracy and quality of information transmission are constantly improving. Spectacular advances are still to come in the service of our health and well-being. Supporting the elderly in complete safety is a real social challenge.


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