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.
General practitioners, geriatricians and gerontologists can now be part of the solution to this tragic and growing problem by testing and monitoring the balance of their patients to identify who has a heightened risk of falling. Aged care providers too can play their part in stopping preventable falls.
The Unimetric Balance Mat is a world-first, Australian-made, sensor-based objective balance measuring system that 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 are tools that advocate balance testing upon admission to aged care and hospital and at appropriate intervals to ensure the safety, wellbeing and longevity of older Australians.
Powered by Balancemetrix technology, the system works by sensing and recording the continuous postural adjustments of a person standing on a rubber sensor mat during a single 20-second test: the higher the score, the poorer the person’s balance.
Balance data is displayed on a Windows 10 or Windows 11 computer or Android device as a dynamic graph and score. The final graph, score, biodata, health status and relevant notes are captured in the test results system for later use.
A high score combined with a spiking graph would generally signal a falls risk, enabling appropriate falls prevention interventions to be taken such as balance and strength exercises or increased out-of-bed monitoring and hip protectors.
• 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 an aged care 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