Falls and fall-related injuries in seniors are more common than strokes and can have equally serious consequences;they represent a signicant health care problem with a substantial associated morbidity and reduction in overall mobility and function. Thirty percent of adults 65 years and older fall each year, often suering dangerous closed head injury and long bone fractures. Fall-related injuries are the number one reason for emergency room visits and the leading cause of injury-related deaths among elderly adults. Studies have shown that half of elderly fallers cannot get up without assistance after they have fallen, often lying in anxiety and/or pain for far too long until discovered. The majority of eldes prefer to lead an independent lifestyle, with a minimum of caregiver intervention. Many seniors, however, are frail and suer from imbalance as a result of their health status;they are at risk for falls and would benet from having a safety net in place. Barron Associates proposes to develop the EverWrist fall monitoring system. The EverWrist will employ a novel, patent-protected paradigm to detect falls, and will automatically summon assistance by sending a wireless signal to a console unit that delivers an alert to a prioritized list of caregivers, ensuring that it is received by a human being. A button on the EverWrist monitor will also enable wearers to initiate personal emergency alert calls and to cancel an alert call in progress if assistance is no needed. Additionally, the EverWrist monitor will be able to detect and log near-fall events, which are of particular interest to health care personnel to identify individuals in need of further intervention to avoid future falls. The majority of previously available commercial fall detectors were waist-mounted;as such, they were not true all-day monitors, since they could not be worn comfortably during sleep and had to be removed to bathe or change clothes. The relatively large size of these fall monitors caused them to be conspicuous, resulting in very low adoption rates. Additionally, the fall detection algorithms used in nearly all previously-available devices were simplistic, leading to an unacceptably high rate of false alarms and/or missed detections. To overcome the problems of earlier devices, a patent-pending sensing technique will be utilized in the EverWrist system that greatly improves accuracy and reliability in detecting falls. The new approach will be productized in the form of a commonly worn and socially acceptable accessory, making it discreet and unobtrusive to wear. A novel algorithmic methodology, motivated and supported by recent research, will be incorporated into the monitor to detect near-fall events and discriminate these events from actual falls and other activities of daily livig. The approach challenges existing paradigms for fall and near-fall event detection. The resulting EverWrist system will be well positioned in terms of market demand (i.e., need for an ergonomic monitor that can be worn 24/7).

Public Health Relevance

The EverWrist system will nd a market with three groups: (1) continuing-care retirement communities, where independent-living residents, in particular, are left relatively unsupervised, but often still have issues with mo- bility and balance;(2) direct sales to elderly individuals, the vast majority of whom wish to continue living independently, but who need to have a safety net in place;and (3) the adult children of elderly individuals, from whom there is a growing demand for monitoring systems that can increase their peace of mind. The availability of a noninvasive, 24-hour-a-day fall/personal alert monitor will make the EverWrist system attractive to a wide segment of elderly individuals and their families. Marketing will focus on senior living communities immediately following Phase II. A rapid transition to commercialization is made possible through Barron Associates'relationship with AFrame Digital, Inc (AFD). AFD is a provider of mobile, intelligent, cost-eective, health monitoring and alerting systems for multi-resident, outpatient, and military outpatient care settings with a strong record of commercial success in the area of telehealth monitoring.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-HDM-R (11))
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Joseph, Lyndon
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Barron Associates, Inc.
United States
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