New artificial intelligence (AI) technology, in the form of a ceiling light, is being piloted in a care home to help prevent residents from falling.
The pilot at Hartland House, an Abbeyfield residential care home in Milnthorpe, is being funded by NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), which organises health and care services across the region.
It involves the installation of AI-powered Nobi smart lamps in residents’ bedrooms which monitor their behaviour and movement 24/7.
Asim Patel, chief digital officer at NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB, said: “We are really interested in how technology can be harnessed to predict and prevent falls in the future and how it can be used to support our care workforce.
“Falls are the biggest reason for hospital admissions in our region and this puts huge pressure on care staff and the NHS. Piloting this new type of technology is really exciting because not only could it reduce hospital admissions significantly, but it could prevent some of our more vulnerable older people from seriously injuring themselves when they fall.”
Around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of all people aged 80 and over, fall at least once a year.
The Nobi smart lamps have the ability to identify when a fall has occurred, ensuring the person is attended to swiftly. If a resident falls, the lamp detects this immediately and speaks to the resident, asking if they are okay. In the event of no response or a call for help, the intelligent lamp is pre-programmed to send a message to the care team plus an image to show where and how the fall has occurred; ensuring a rapid response and extra information about the fall, helping care staff to prevent a future fall.
When a resident sits upright in bed at night the lamp will shine soft light upwards to gently illuminate the room and if they then stand up to go to the bathroom, for example, the smart lamp will illuminate the entire room.
Speaking about the pilot, Leanne Scrogham, registered manager of Hartland House, said: “One of the added benefits of the lamps is that they help us to understand the falls that occur.
“When a resident falls they typically can’t remember how or why they fell. But the Nobi smart lamps are able to show us a period of 30 seconds before and after a fall as well as sending us a still image of the person on the floor. This means that we can see how the person fell and if they tripped, stumbled or had a sudden collapse.
“This sort of information is invaluable, giving us a far better understanding of the incident and how it can be prevented in the future.”