Falls are the second leading cause of accidental injury deaths worldwide. Each year, many older people fall and this frequently leads to injury, suffering, fear, loss of independence and reduced quality of life.
Falls are often caused by a number of factors, and interventions such as physical therapy, adjusting medications or behaviour change can reduce the elderly fall rate. Determination of fall risks is therefore needed in order to identify who may benefit from interventions.
There are specific tests and questionnaires which can be used periodically to assess fall risks at clinics. However, changes in fall risk may occur more suddenly and clinic visits may not occur frequently enough to detect these changes.
The main goal of this project is to allow users to perform some of the tests by themselves at home, so that the tests can become more regular and therefore more responsive to sudden changes. We are not aiming to replace clinic visits, but offer users the means to continue the tracking of their fall risk from home, so that if dangerous readings are detected the users can be immediately directed to the clinic.
In this project, the fall risk factors targeted are the visual function and the hearing loss. Being so, a set of clinical visual acuity and hearing capacity tests were studied, so that we could replicate them resorting to an Android smartphone. With this it is possible to track the continuous evolution of the users’ visual and hearing capacity, easily detecting any anomalies.
Another goal of this project is to provide this evaluation through serious games, so that this task can be as pleasant as possible and therefore get the user to perform the evaluation more frequently.
Author: Pedro Dias
Type: MSc thesis
Partner: Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto