A company called Active Protective is currently working on a belt with an airbag in it to break the fall for older people at risk! What an incredible idea!!
Active Protective, a Philadelphia startup founded by a trauma surgeon and a technology entrepreneur, seeks to reduce seniors’ chances of fracturing their hips as a result of falling. Falls often lead to other medical complications that significantly decrease quality of life.
Every year, more than one-quarter of Americans over the age of 65 experience a fall, and at least 300,000 of them are hospitalized for hip fractures. More than 95 percent of hip fractures are a result of falling, costing $31 billion annually, according to studies cited by the Centers for Disease Control.
“We’ve been in four phases of studies at multiple senior care providers to test the algorithm, to analyze the wearability, and usability — and what’s really important for supervised caregivers — workflow issues. We’ve had four studies, including a 28-day ‘in the wild’ study, where we left the belts, with the airbags turned off, in three of the largest senior care providers in the country, and on day 28, we did exit interviews with the staff, and the residents who wore the belts, and all of that has allowed us to refine the industrial design and the feature set to really protect the highest risk patients in the senior care center, and we think we’ve met that,” said co-founder Drew Lakatos in an interview.
It weighs less than two pounds, is fitted with sensors, and deploys when the wearer falls over. It also sends an alert to caregivers at the time of the fall. Lakatos said for competitive reasons, he can’t say when the belts will be available commercially, but they will be part of a pilot study at a large supervised care community in the first quarter of 2017.