Remote Monitoring and Automatic Fall Detection for Elderly People at Home

University dissertation from Västerås : Mälardalen University

Abstract: Aging population is a one of the key problems for the vast majority of so called "more economically developed countries" (MEDC). The amount of elderly people who suffer from multiple disease and require permanent monitoring of their vital parameters has increased recently resulting in extra healthcare costs. Modern healthcare systems exploited in geriatric medicine are often obtrusive and require patients presence at the hospital which interferes with their demand in independent life style. Recent developments on telecare market provide a wide range of wireless solutions for distant monitoring of medical parameters and health assistance. However, most of the devices are programmed for spot checking and operate independently from each other. There is still a lack of integrated framework with high interoperability and on-line continuous monitoring support for further correlation analyses. The current study is a step towards complete and continuous data collection system for elderly people with various types of health problems. Research initiative is motivated by recent demand in reliable multi-functional remote monitoring systems, combining different data sources. The main focus is made on fall detection methods, interoperability, real-life testing and correlation analyses. The list of main contributions contains (1) investigating communication functionalities, (2) developing algorithm for reliable fall detection, (3) multi-sensor fusion analyses and overview of the latest multi-sensor fusion approaches, (4) user study involving healthy volunteers and elderly people. Evaluation is performed through a series of computer simulation and real-life testing in collaboration with the local medical authorities. As a result we expect to obtain a monitoring system with reliable communication capabilities, inbuilt on-line processing, alarm generating techniques and complete functionality for integration with similar systems or smart-home environment.