Innovative Care Practices

Technology for Injury Prevention in Seniors (TIPS) Research Project:
A research collaboration between The New Vista Society, Fraser Health, and Simon Fraser University

TIPS is a unique university-community partnership for developing new technologies to prevent falls and fall-related injuries in older adults.

Everyone experiences a fall now and then. While most falls do not cause serious injury, occasionally we are reminded of how even a simple fall from standing can be catastrophic. Indeed, falls from standing height are the most common cause of injury-related hospitalizations across the lifespan.

Falls are especially devastating among older adults, as the cause of over 90% of hip fractures and wrist fractures, and 60% of head injuries in this population. Approximately 20% of hip fracture patients die within a year, and 50% will not return to their pre-fracture level of mobility and independence.

TIPS uses innovative approaches (such as video capture and wearable sensors) to determine the causes and circumstances of falls of older adults. We also develop and test the effectiveness of engineering interventions such as protective clothing and compliant flooring in reducing fall-related injuries.

Number and Location of Falls

7107 falls between 2008 and 2016
2563 falls in public areas
455 falls captured on video experienced by 187 residents
Circumstances of Falls in Common Areas

Activity at the Time of Falling

Falls were just as likely during standing and transferring
as during forward walking

Nature of Imbalance

49% of falls were due to incorrect weight shifting
12% of falls were due to loss of support with moving objects*
3% were caused by trips on equipment
* eg. walker, wheelchair, chair

Wearable Sensors

Wearable sensors detect the occurrence of falls, and provide information on the cause of falls to guide prevention with 96% sensitivity and 96% specificity in detecting falls in lab experiments, 94% sensitivity in detecting nature of imbalance leading to falls. Studies are ongoing with residents.
Injury Prevention

Wearable Hip Protectors

Reduce risk for hip fracture by up to 80% if worn at time of fall, absorbs the force of a fall, diverting this force from bone
“Stick-on” hip protector may provide more continuous and effective protection
Injury Prevention

Compliant Flooring

Passive form of injury prevention
Reduces impact force to hip by 35%, force to head by 68%
Minimal effects on balance or mobility
Ongoing clinical trial in long-term care

Video Capture of Falls

Video footage is acquired from a network of cameras installed in common areas. In the event of a fall, an incident report is completed by care providers. We then review these reports to identify the location of falls, and retrieve the corresponding video footage.

Spatial Mapping of Falls

Fall “hot spots” appear brighter in colour

Impact Locations

Head Impact from Falls

43%

 

Of Falls Resulted in Head Impact

Risk Factors for Head Impact
Female – 2x Increase
Visual impairment – 2x Increase
Forward fall – 2x Increase
Falling during walking – 2x Increase
Hand impact – no effect

For more information, please contact:
Stephen Robinovitch, Ph.D.
778.782.6679 or stever@sfu.ca
or visit www.sfu.ca/tips

The Flooring for Injury Prevention (FLIP) Trial:
A partnership between The New Vista Society, Fraser Health, and Simon Fraser University

Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury among older adults in  Canada, including over 90% of hip and wrist fractures and a large percentage of head and spine injuries. Approximately 60% of residents will experience at least one fall each year, and 30% of these falls cause injury. Despite these disturbing statistics, little attention has been directed to fall injury prevention in the complex care setting.

A promising strategy for reducing fall‐related injuries in complex care is to decrease the stiffness of the ground surface, and the subsequent force applied to the body parts at impact. To date, no studies have tested the effect of compliant flooring on fall‐related injuries.

To address this gap, the FLIP project will conduct a randomized controlled trial of 2 types of flooring in resident rooms in New Vista. The research project will involve 150 resident rooms on the first and second floor, and is expected to run from 3 to 4 years.

The research trials started in 2013. Our Project plan will be posted on the participating Villages.