New system evaluates patients’ risk of falling

The Biomechanics Institute of Valencia’s Universitat Politècnica has developed the FallSkip system to accurately help medical staff evaluate the risk of falling for each patient (which is specially relevant for elderly people).

FallSkipAs the head of the IBV’s Innovation in Biomechanic Evaluation, David Garrido, explains: “FallSkip performs an objective segmentation of the risk of falling of each patient, making it possible to define preventive and personalized clinical intervention adapted to their needs.”

The FallSkip application performs a global evaluation of the risk of falling, combining the result of the biomechanic test with the main risk factors: age, gender and the patient’s previous medical record in regards to falls. The fall risk result is immediately available after performing the test, “obtaining an accurate, fast and intuitive evaluation in one simple screenshot.”

The duration of the evaluation, including instrumentation of the patient and performing the test, is of approximately one minute. “Thanks to this fact it becomes an ideal test to use in any clinical context, where both objectivity and time saving is of the utmost importance in order to perform the various protocols used by medical staff”, Garrido explains.

FallSkip “will positively contribute to reducing personal and financial costs related to socio-sanitary interventions that surround the falls of elderly people”, he adds.


Challenges of an ageing population

There is currently a tendency towards ageing in the world’s population, specially noticeable in Europe and even more so in Spain. This increase in people over 65 years of age results in a rise in the number of falls.

According to the WHO, prevention strategies that must be adopted by health centres have to be aimed at identifying risk factors, as one in three elderly people suffers at least one fall every year, making it one of the main geriatric syndromes and the second cause of accidental or unintentional deaths worldwide.

As David Garrido explains, “a fall also usually implies a deterioration of the elderly person’s self-sufficiency, thus lowering his or her quality of life and that of their social surrounding, which increases their fragility.”

It is believed that in Spain up to 30% of over 65s and 50% of over 80s fall at least once a year. The result of a majority of these falls is a hip fracture, the cost of which per patient is €8,365, which leads to millions in health costs. In the world, 60,000 elderly people die eveyr year as a result of falls and, according to the WHO, an elderly person is seen to every 11 seconds in an emergency room after a fall.

FallSkip in useHow FallSkip works

The FallSkip system, designed and developed by the Bioechanics Institute (IBV) is based on a clinical protocol from a modified version of the Time up 6 Go (TUG) test in order to obtain a simple and accurate fall risk index.

This index is created from biomechanical registers that define a fall risk classification model. This model is in turn based on the walking pattern, balance, muscular strength and temporal variables.

The FallSkip evaluation system is composed of a registry system on Android and a measurement protocol specifically designed for evaluating the risk of falling.

The test is performed in four consecutive phases that last one minute: the measuring device, located on the patient’s lower back, registers that accelerations generated by the patient during the test.

With the measured acceleration, the system calculates the biomechanical variables associated with the risk of falling: balance, gait, the ability to sit down and get up as well as the reaction time after noticing sonic stimuli.

FallSkip performs a global evaluation, combining the result of the biomechanical test with the main risk factors and delivers the fall risk result immediately after the test.


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