Delivering healthcare to an aging population
As we grow older, certain day-to-day activities can become difficult as our health becomes more fragile. Within our own homes, the risk of falls and related injuries increases. The aging global population requires improved and cost-effective ways to reduce these risks and manage age-related health issues.
To help older people live in their own homes for longer and reduce the strain to them, their families and the healthcare and aged care systems, there is an opportunity to create smarter and safer homes for the elderly and help improve their quality of life.
Developing a system for smarter safer homes
Through the Australian e-Health Research Centre, we have developed a low-cost, non-invasive sensor, monitoring and support system for use in individual homes or a supported-living community.
The Smarter Safer Homes system can:
- Sense the physical environment including motion, light temperature, humidity, vibration, and power usage throughout the house
- Build a picture of a person’s daily routine and detect deviations that may indicate illness or injury
- Connect with video-conferencing systems, facilitating social connections with family and friends
- Collect disease-specific health information such as blood pressure, glucose levels, weight and body temperature using wireless biomedical devices that transmit data to remote servers for examination and follow-up by healthcare providers.
Improving quality of life
Since 2013, the Smarter Safer Homes system has been trialed in a number of locations across Australia to support older people in a range of contexts involving their families, healthcare and aged care providers, and local general practitioners. The wireless sensor networks were installed in more than 70 broadband-connected residences with user feedback helping to continue to tailor the platform and its interface for purpose.
We are continuing to trial Smarter Safer Homes and are seeking new collaborators, with the aim of providing:
- A decision support system for clinicians and healthcare workers that provides alerts and triage for the care of older people living in their own homes
- A communication and support system for families and carers as well as for older residents
- Real-world testing of systems in a broadband-connected house.