Gerontology. 2022 Apr 29:1-11. doi: 10.1159/000522657. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: As effective interventions to prevent inpatient falls are lacking, a novel technological intervention was trialed. The Ambient Intelligent Geriatric Management (AmbIGeM) system used wearable sensors that detected and alerted staff of patient movements requiring supervision. While the system did not reduce falls rate, it is important to evaluate the acceptability, usability, and safety of the AmbIGeM system, from the perspectives of patients and informal carers.
METHODS: We conducted a mixed-methods study using semistructured interviews, a pre-survey and post-survey. The AmbIGeM clinical trial was conducted in two geriatric evaluation and management units and a general medical ward, in two Australian hospitals, and a subset of participants were recruited. Within 3 days of being admitted to the study wards and enrolling in the trial, 31 participants completed the pre-survey. Prior to discharge (post-intervention), 30 participants completed the post-survey and 27 participants were interviewed. Interview data were thematically analyzed and survey data were descriptively analyzed.
RESULTS: Survey and interview participants had an average age of 83 (SD 9) years, 65% were female, and 41% were admitted with a fall. Participants considered the AmbIGeM system a good idea. Most but not all thought the singlet and sensor component as acceptable and comfortable, with no privacy concerns. Participants felt reassured with extra monitoring, although sometimes misunderstood the purpose of AmbIGeM as detecting patient falls. Participants' acceptability was strongly positive, with median 8+ (0-10 scale) on pre- and post-surveys.
DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: Patients' acceptability is important to optimize outcomes. Overall older patients considered the AmbIGeM system as acceptable, usable, and improving safety. The findings will be important to guide refinement of this and other similar technology developments.