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Automatic fall protection alarm launched for elderly

Posted: 5/15/2013 11:11:59 AM

1 in 3 over 65s fall each year, costing NHS approx £1.67 billion

Tunstall, the leading telehealthcare provider, has launched one of the world’s most sophisticated fall detection personalised alarm that automatically calls for help in the event of a fall.  The new device, which is manufactured in the UK, could save hundreds of lives a year and the NHS millions of pounds.

The automatic pendant offers an unprecedented detection algorithm that reacts to changes in barometric pressure, acceleration and static orientation and determines whether a fall has taken place. It is likely to replace tens of thousands of the 1.7m ‘red button’ telecare pendants currently in use in the UK.

The alarm wirelessly connects with a base station in the home of the person using the system. Once the fall is detected, the base station automatically dials the response centre and an operator uses the powerful loudspeaker in the home unit to talk to the person and arrange appropriate help, or call the emergency services if unable to raise a response.

To date, manual alarms have depended on the person to press the button, but research from NICE has shown that many elderly and frail people with alarms thought they had pressed the button when they had not, could not reach their alarm or see any advantage in having a pendant. Some were confused what to press, or when*.

Falls are the leading cause of mortality resulting from injury in people aged above 75 in the UK and a major cause of disability. Some 14,000 people die annually in the UK as a result of an osteoporotic hip fracture.** More than 400,000 older people in England attend A&E departments following a fall. Age UK estimates one-in-three people over the age of 65 suffer a fall each year, costing the NHS an estimated £4.6m a day – £1.67 billion a year.

The new, small, waterproof, lightweight pendant is also the only device automatically to notify the telecare response centre if it has not registered movement for a period of time, suggesting that the person has not worn it.

Simon Arnold, MD, Tunstall Healthcare, says:

This is a major development which provides an unprecedented safeguard for the elderly and disabled. It affords them independent living with the knowledge that if they suffer a fall, but cannot manually activate an alarm, help will soon be at hand

The iVi™ pendant can be ordered through a Local Authority, or direct from Tunstall, as part of a monitoring service.

For more information on the iVi please click here

** NICE “Clinical practice guideline for the assessment and prevention of falls in older people” (Chapter 3 – Background to the current guideline)

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