Technology Research for Independent Living Centre Launches Falls Risk Assessment Technologies
Jul 06, 2012
The Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock launched the Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) Clinic’s suite of new falls risk assessment technologies at St James’s Hospital. The new technology could potentially increase accuracy in the assessment of falls risk in older people. One in three people over the age of 65 suffer from a fall every year in Ireland. Two-thirds of this group fall again within six months, leading to risk of hospitalisation and significant health decline.
The TRIL Clinic is an innovative hub of research and innovation involving clinical (St James’s Hospital), industry (Intel) and academic (TCD/UCD) researchers. Professor Rose Anne Kenny is the TRIL Principal Investigator for Falls Prevention and Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Trinity College Dublin.
Minister Sherlock, speaking at the launch, reiterated how important research and innovation is for helping to address the significant economic and social implications the ageing demographics will have on our economy. A recent study by The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology showed that the cost to the economy of falls and fractures in older people is about €0.5 billion annually. “The TRIL Centre it is an excellent demonstration of research and innovation involving academic, clinical and industry partners,” he said. “It is activities like TRIL that will help position Ireland as a hub and global leader in ageing research and health technology innovation.”
The TRIL Centre is at the forefront of using mobile devices with novel sensor technology and algorithms to predict risk of falling. The Falls Risk Assessment Suite, developed within the TRIL Centre, is being introduced into the 2012 clinical assessment. The technology supports efforts to improve accuracy in assessing falls risk and mobility, resulting in more targeted interventions for those at risk of falling. The technology suite has been developed on a mobile platform using wireless sensors; this model enables sophisticated falls risk assessment to be undertaken in the home or community.
Speaking about the need to predict risk of falling, Consultant Physician and Director of the Falls and Blackout Unit at St. James’s Hospital, Professor Rose Anne Kenny, TRIL Principal Investigator for Falls Prevention and Professor of Geriatric Medicine in Trinity College Dublin said, "the EU has targeted falls prevention as one of its main priorities for health research in ageing. Falls become more common as we age and the consequences of falls, such as fractures, also increase. Unfortunately recurrent falls often result in admission to long term care. Therefore early detection of treatable conditions which cause falls prevent these serious consequences. These new technologies provide such early detection.”
The Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) Centre and clinic were established to develop competitive, state of the art technologies for ageing given global opportunities in ageing demographies.
Based in St James’s Hospital, the TRIL Clinic is an innovative hub of research and innovation involving clinical (St James’s Hospital), industry (Intel) and academic (TCD/UCD) researchers.
The work at the Clinic involves:
- exploring the physical, social and psychological dimensions of ageing through comprehensive assessment of a large cohort of older Irish adults
- validating novel technologies for assessment
- providing a well characterised cohort of older adults that participate on various research projects across the centre
By the end of 2012, 1,335 comprehensive bio-psycho-social assessments will have been carried out at the clinic.
The TRIL Centre is conducting leading edge research that is uncovering the biological and psychological factors behind falls in older people. In conjunction with researchers based in Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Intel Ireland and GE Healthcare, the TRIL Centre is at the forefront of using novel sensor technology to predict risk of falling and pointing the way to better diagnosis and management.
The TRIL Centre has undertaken a substantial ageing research programme that has resulted in over 240 publications, the creation of 15 technologies and the trialling of technologies in the homes of over 500 older people.
TRIL is funded by Intel, GE Healthcare and IDA Ireland. www.trilcentre.org
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