After speaking with many geriatricians and registered nurses, they all were unaware of any devices that detect an unconscious fall. However, they thought it would be clinically very useful for people of all ages who are at risk for syncope (passing out), seizures/epilepsy, or falls. In terms of the geriatric population, these patients tend to fall as a result of many different factors: muscle weakness, arthritis, balance problems, low vitamin D, medication side effects, vision impairment, low blood pressure that happens due to aging, and obstacles in the environment. Dementia is also a huge risk factor for falls. The problem with falls is not only the injury that is sustained from the fall (for example, head trauma resulting in brain bleed or a broken hip) but also complications that occur because people can’t get up on their own due to weakness or confusion. They are stuck on the ground until someone finds them hours later, often with dehydration, muscle breakdown, and kidney failure. Among the worst damage suffered is the psychological issues; these patients felt abandoned when they were left on the ground for so long, and they lose trust in their caregivers.
The solution our venture provides is a low cost alternative to the faulty devices available. We have developed a patent-pending (provisional patent filed under Symbiont Health LLC last Friday) pendant-and-waist data gathering mechanism to detect falls with high sensitivity and high confidence. The design patent will protect the idea to manufacture MEMS (Microelectromechanical System) devices that are small enough to attach to existing jewelry/clothing. We have determined that this design will be the most readily adopted by the geriatric population we wish to serve.
As stated previously, a device like this can serve, just in the United States, over 3 million dementia & Alzheimer’s patients, 200,000 parkinson’s patients, and more than 5 million elderly with cardiac arrest every year. Internationally, the World Health Organization reports that approximately 28-35% of people aged 65 and older fall each year. With a technologically sound device, the impact Symbiont could have would truly be great!