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Assisting older Australians to live well longer

Multiple factors play a role in falls and related injuries, however poor balance is the cause of the majority of falls in older adults.

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA)

Powered by BalanceMetrix technology, the Balance Mat is an Australian made balance measurement system. It comprises a lightweight nylon mat with an embedded sensor, internal mesh of optical fibre and online score information system. The product works by sensing and recording the continuous postural adjustments of a person standing on the mat: the higher the score, the poorer the person’s balance.

About the Balance Mat

The Balance Mat enables aged care, healthcare and fitness professionals to quickly and effectively test the balance of their clients.

•  Novel Australian-made sensor technology
•  Breakthrough in balance measurement
•  Quick and easy tool for healthcare and fitness practitioners
•  Enhancement to traditional balance measurement tools
•  Powerful metrics on a variety of parameters
•  Option to run on Windows 10 computer or Android device
•  Output displayed in real time as graph and score
•  Electronic data captured and stored securely through a unique user ID and password
•  Online or offline operability

Information about the person’s balance is displayed on a Windows 10 computer or Android device as a dynamic graph and score. The final graph, score, biodata, health status and relevant notes are captured in a score information system for later use.  

Just a minute of your time could save a senior’s life!

The Unimetric Balance Mat for falls risk assessment in aged care and hospitals gives a single graph and score. 

Introducing a four-in-one balance testing device

The Multimetric Balance Mat for health and fitness gives four different graphs and scores from four different standing positions.

Unimetric Balance Mat

Preventing falls in aged care and hospitals

The incidence of preventable falls in older Australians has grown at an alarming rate, with the costs of injury and death from falls estimated at $500 million a year and rising.

Aged care providers and hospital administrators can now be part of the solution to this tragic and growing problem by incorporating the Balance Mat into their duty of care protocols.

A world-first, Australian-made, sensor-based objective balance measuring system is now available that can help nurses and carers identify who is at risk of falling since poor balance is correlated with a heightened falls risk in older adults.

Powered by BalanceMetrix technology, the Unimetric Balance Mat assists aged care and healthcare professionals to identify those who may be at risk of falling.

Any score of 0.6 or above signals a falls risk, enabling falls prevention measures such as increased out-of-bed monitoring, hip protectors or balance exercises to be taken.

The product is designed to complement national best practice tools such as the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Falls Guidelines, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Falls Risk Assessment Tool (FRAT) and Western Australia Health Falls Risk Assessment and Management Plan (FRAMP). These tools advocate balance measurement upon admission and at appropriate intervals to ensure patient and resident safety, wellbeing and longevity.

Unimetric Balance Mat
fallen lady

Why buy?

• Takes the guesswork out of measuring balance
• Presents as non-threatening, safe and comfortable for older people to stand on
• Gives families confidence that everything that can be done is being done to keep their loved ones safe from falling
• Strengthens awareness of the facility as an enlightened, caring organisation
• Helps mitigate any previous duty of care reputational damage
• Gives residential aged care facilities an advantage over their competitors
• Provides regulators with evidence of falls prevention activities
• Can be incorporated easily into standard duty of care protocols

Multimetric Balance Mat

Promoting wellness in older Australians

Since balance is a key indicator of a person’s fitness the Multimetric Balance Mat can assist healthcare professionals and fitness instructors to better manage the health of their clients. 

Health and fitness are particularly important for older Australians. As we age our sensory systems may decline, contributing to poor balance.

Now for the first time healthcare and fitness practitioners can perform a multimetric analysis of a client’s static balance using a single device.

The Multimetric Balance Mat measures a person’s balance ability, giving four different graphs and scores from four different standing positions: normal, tandem, right foot, left foot. Importantly, the device has the advantage of being able to measure differences in a person’s standing ability on each leg.

The product offers a unique way of measuring balance for fitness instructors and yoga, Pilates, tai chi and Feldenkreis practitioners. It also taps into a worldwide fascination with personal fitness metrics such as body weight, heart rate and number of footsteps taken.

In physiotherapy practices the Multimetric Balance Mat provides accurate and reliable outcome measures for a range of purposes including pre-employment screening, post-injury treatment, exercise rehabilitation and work fitness evaluation.

In fitness centres it assists instructors to tailor-make programs to suit the needs of their clients.

The standard protocol is for the client to stand comfortably with their eyes open and hands by their side.

Why buy?

Fitness centres

•  Helps clients gain a better understanding of their bodies
•  Identifies balance weaknesses for tailored exercise programs
•  Enables benchmarking of individual scores against the scores of other cohort members
•  Gives real-time feedback on balance ability in different standing positions including separate results for each leg
•  Novelty value creates a buzz among fitness centre patrons

Physiotherapy practices

•  Provides a more accurate, richer result than time-based testing alone
•  Uses an objective measure to confirm professional judgement based on observation, knowledge and experience
•  Positions practitioners as balance experts
•  Acts as a referral generator
•  Creates potential research opportunities
•  Improves the health and fitness of the practice

A four-in-one balance tester

Multimetric Balance Mat

Test 1. Feet side-by-side

The first test measures the balance of a person standing still on the mat with their feet side-by-side. A score of zero indicates excellent balance. A score between zero and 0.6 indicates good balance. Any score of 0.6 or above indicates poor balance, a falls risk and possible abnormal medical condition that needs investigating.

Multimetric Balance Mat

Test 2. Tandem

This test involves the person standing with one foot in front of the other, heel to toe. It tests lateral postural stability by narrowing the base of support and gives valuable information about the person’s sense of positioning, or proprioception, and motor coordination. Although many people find the stance difficult to maintain someone with excellent balance can achieve a score of zero. A score of between zero and 2.0 indicates good balance, between 2.0 and 10.0 indicates fair balance, and a score above 10 indicates poor balance.

Multimetric Balance Mat

Test 3. One legged – right foot

Sometimes called the Stork or Flamingo, this test requires the person to stand on their right foot on the Balance Mat. The time they can stand one-legged is an important indicator of balance ability. The dynamic graph and score give an extra and more nuanced reading. A score of between zero and 2.0 indicates good balance.

Multimetric Balance Mat

Test 4. One legged – left foot

This test requires the person to stand on their left foot on the centre footprint guide. The ability to measure static balance on each leg independently and compare the results is unique to the Balance Mat. A score of between zero and 2.0 indicates good balance.

Lease or buy

You can lease or buy a Balance Mat by completing the downloadable form above. 

There are two types of Balance Mat: the Unimetric (single standing position) model and the Multimetric (multiple standing positions) model. The Unimetric model comes in two sizes – a standard size for in-house use and a smaller portable model for at-home visits. 

Enquiries: to Balance Mat Manager Lynne Parnell, on mobile 0417 279 874 or email lynne.parnell@balancemat.com.au.

What people are saying about the Balance Mat

  • I believe your new Balance Mat product offers considerable benefit to the aged care community as an effective new tool to assist with falls prevention.

    Jenny Mobbs
    Executive Director, Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT

News

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Balance Mat measure?

The Balance Mat measures static balance by sensing and recording the small postural adjustments a person makes to remain upright in different standing positions.

What factors affect static balance?

Maintaining balance involves three primary systems of the human body: the vestibular (equilibrium), somatosensory (proprioception and kinesthesia) and visual (spatial location relative to objects).

What is a good score on the Balance Mat?

A good score on the Balance Mat is zero to 0.6 for the feet side-by-side (normal) stance and zero to 2.0 for the tandem and one-legged stances. Any scores higher than these ranges are of concern and need to be clinically investigated.

How long does a Balance Mat test go for?

A standard Balance Mat test goes for 60 seconds. This can be shortened at the practitioner’s discretion.

What happens if there’s a high score?

The healthcare or fitness practitioner needs to ensure the person seeks medical advice if appropriate.

How are Balance Mat results recorded?

At the end of each Balance Mat test or set of tests the practitioner has the option to upload the graph and score to the online score information system along with biodata comprising the name, gender, year of birth, known medical conditions and notes regarding the person whose balance is being tested. The practitioner has access to the data they upload on the SIS via a unique user ID and password.

How does the Balance Mat work?

A sensor inside the mat has an LED and LDR which send and receive light through a mesh of optical fibre. Any deviation in the fibre caused by pressure on the mat surface affects the light signal. A microprocessor in the sensor detects the deviations and sends data to a Windows 10 computer or Android device.

Data is displayed as a dynamic graph and score. These rise and fall in accordance with any movement on the mat. The score measures the variance from the mean. When the person on the mat is not moving the graph flatlines and the score is zero. When the person moves the graph shows peaks and the score rises.

If the movement on the mat suddenly stops the graph will immediately flatline. However, the score will decrease gradually. This is because the graph is measuring instantaneous data points and the score is measuring the variation from the mean (or the progressive sum of the cumulative data points).

What is the value of Balance Mat data?

Balance Mat data can be used for a range of analytical, diagnostic, therapeutic and comparative purposes including falls prevention, fitness monitoring, progress tracking, physiotherapy, exercise physiology, injury and post-surgery rehabilitation, pre-employment screening and work fitness evaluation.

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To order your Balance Mat today or discuss our Innovation Partnership opportunities please contact to Balance Mat Manager Lynne Parnell, on mobile 0417 279 874 or email lynne.parnell@balancemat.com.au.