Digital assessment of falls risk, frailty, and mobility impairment using wearable sensors

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Title: Digital assessment of falls risk, frailty, and mobility impairment using wearable sensors
Authors: Greene, Barry R.McManus, KillianRedmond, StephenCaulfield, BrianQuinn, Charlene C.
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Date: 11-Dec-2019
Online since: 2020-12-04T12:31:41Z
Abstract: Falls are among the most frequent and costly population health issues, costing $50bn each year in the US. In current clinical practice, falls (and associated fall risk) are often self-reported after the “first fall”, delaying primary prevention of falls and development of targeted fall prevention interventions. Current methods for assessing falls risk can be subjective, inaccurate, have low inter-rater reliability, and do not address factors contributing to falls (poor balance, gait speed, transfers, turning). 8521 participants (72.7 ± 12.0 years, 5392 female) from six countries were assessed using a digital falls risk assessment protocol. Data consisted of wearable sensor data captured during the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test along with self-reported questionnaire data on falls risk factors, applied to previously trained and validated classifier models. We found that 25.8% of patients reported a fall in the previous 12 months, of the 74.6% of participants that had not reported a fall, 21.5% were found to have a high predicted risk of falls. Overall 26.2% of patients were predicted to be at high risk of falls. 29.8% of participants were found to have slow walking speed, while 19.8% had high gait variability and 17.5% had problems with transfers. We report an observational study of results obtained from a novel digital fall risk assessment protocol. This protocol is intended to support the early identification of older adults at risk of falls and inform the creation of appropriate personalized interventions to prevent falls. A population-based approach to management of falls using objective measures of falls risk and mobility impairment, may help reduce unnecessary outpatient and emergency department utilization by improving risk prediction and stratification, driving more patients towards clinical and community-based falls prevention activities.
Funding Details: Science Foundation Ireland
Funding Details: Insight Research Centre
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
Journal: npj Digital Medicine
Volume: 2
Copyright (published version): 2019 the Authors
Keywords: Personal sensingBiomedical engineeringGeriatricsPublic healthRisk factors
DOI: 10.1038/s41746-019-0204-z
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License:
Appears in Collections:Electrical and Electronic Engineering Research Collection
Insight Research Collection

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