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Rinicare’s SAFE falls reduction technology granted new UK patent

Rinicare’s SAFE falls reduction technology has been granted UK Patent No: GB2581767 for Patient Fall Prevention, issued in May 2022.

SAFE has been designed to reduce the burden on overstretched clinicians and care home staff by alerting them to pending falls events. A recently published white paper projected that falls amongst older people will increase by 3.9% a year meaning an extra 110,000 older people are likely to have at least one fall per year. Overall, total falls are projected to rise by 124,000 in men and 130,000 in women per year, costing the health and social care system £210m[i].

The new patent recognises the innovative approach that Rinicare are taking to address this problem. Key to their innovation is use of a thermal sensor with state-of-the-art computer vision technology to reliably and continuously monitor patients in and around their bed, while retaining their dignity by only presenting positional icons to staff and proactively alerting them to an imminent fall.

Dr Anthony Holmes, Managing Director for Rinicare, commented, “This new patent is an important step forward for our SAFE falls reduction solution. Historical fall prevention strategies can be labour-intensive, create large numbers of false alerts or lack evidence of effectiveness as seen in a recent Cochrane Review[ii]. Healthcare resources are experiencing unprecedented demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with deconditioning (loss of strength) of older patients predicted to lead to a vast increase in total falls and subsequent costs to the health and social care system. Effective fall prevention strategies that minimise staff workload and unnecessary direct patient contact are therefore vital for reducing the risk of falls and patient harm. We are delighted to secure this patent and look forward to further rolling out SAFE to the patients who will benefit the most from it.”

As the UK Government and the NHS work to address the projected rise in falls, falls prevention technology is going to play a more and more significant role. The Government’s white paper, ‘People at the Heart of Care: adult social care reform: Using the full potential of technology to support people’s lives and aspirations ’, specifically commits to using more falls prevention technology. In the context of increasing staff pressures, wider adoption of solutions that have a minimal impact on staff workload, preserve patient dignity and can predict falls before they happen are likely to be key to success.

[i] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/people-at-the-heart-of-care-adult-social-care-reform-white-paper/people-at-the-heart-of-care-adult-social-care-reform

[ii] Cameron ID, Dyer SM, Panagoda CE, Murray GR, Hill KD, Cumming RG, Kerse N. Interventions for preventing falls in older people in care facilities and hospitals. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD005465. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005465.pub4. Accessed 06 June 2022.