Research and Development

Rinicare SAFE (System to Avoid Fall Events):

Innovate UK (SBRI) - SAFE (December 15 – May 16)

Rinicare developed an integrated 24/7 non-invasive System to Avoid Fall Events (SAFE) that combines a thermal imaging (TI) optical sensor and bespoke algorithms on an embedded PC (EPC) into a Smart Surveillance Unit (SSU) to detect changes in a patient’s position in a hospital style bed. If the patient’s position in the bed is classified by the system as potentially dangerous, for instance if the patient is sitting up with the legs over the side, the SAFE system sends an early warning (audio/visual) signal to the clinician’s computer screen and the clinician can then take action to prevent the patient from falling out of bed. In addition to alerting the clinician to a potential dangerous situation via the computer screen the SAFE system can potentially also be integrated to trigger other alarms such as turning on the light in the ward/room and play a voice message informing the patient to stay in bed and wait for the clinician to arrive. 

The TI sensor is a low-resolution sensor, and it does not record an image that can identify the patient or the staff to ensure anonymity. The TI sensor can operate in both dim light and complete darkness. The SAFE system is mounted in a fixed position relative to the hospital bed, for example on a wall or a curtain rail. Initially each sensor will monitor one bed, but further development could expand the capability to include more beds per system.

The components of the system comprise three main parts:

1) A Smart Surveillance Unit (SSU - The TI sensor with an EPC) monitoring a bed and classifying the patient’s position in the bed.

2) A hospital monitoring server (HMS) which receives the results of the classifications from all SSUs and aggregating them to the clinicians PC.

3) Clinician’s computer software, which through a visual user interface communicates the current states of the patients and indicates any changes in classification.

The system addresses the needs of two main target groups:

1) The patient - Whose risk assessment level indicates a risk of falling (Typically frail elderly people over 65 years and/or people impaired by medication or physical elderly people over 65 years and/or people impaired by medication or physical handicaps)

The patients have a reduced risk of suffering a fall accident from either voluntary or accidental bed exits when early preventive action is facilitated. This leads to a higher feeling of security for both the patient and for the relatives and it mitigates the fear of losing personal independence due to a debilitating fall accident. The system can be customised for individual patients’ behavioural and characteristics.

2) Clinicians and the hospital/ nursing homes. 

The clinicians reduce the time spent manually checking up on at-risk patients and the hospital will benefit by avoiding prolonged patient stays due to fall accidents, which will save resources and capital. Furthermore, proactively preventing falls reduces the stress and/or anxiety clinicians may feel when they fear discovering a patient lying on the floor.


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