Innovating to Make Falls Less Problematic

from: Longevity Explorers | Aging in Place Technology

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Discussion Summary

At the last Aging in Place Meetup (Oct. 22, 2014) Phil Marechal of Home Instead talked about "Seeking a Cure for Falls" You can read about it and listen to the talk below.

Listen to the Talk. Watch the Slides




Residents in nursing homes or seniors at home are at a significantly increased risk of falling since they are often disabled, elderly and easily disoriented.  Given their frail medical condition, a fall resulting in a fracture or injury in a nursing home can have a significant impact on a resident’s functional ability and quality of life. Falls will occur and the implications for the long term health and wellbeing of seniors is significant.

New technologies are being proposed to measure gaits, improve coordination and help with ambulation with new deigns for wheelchairs, and canes. Technology can provide better alarms and reporting of capacity of seniors for ambulation.

Some examples of areas where technology can improve the quality of life for seniors by helping design products and solutions that can assist with the following issues:

  • Recognition of hazards in the hallway such as wet floors or cords from medical equipment. Do they need to be brighter or contacting colors?
  • Failure to use safety devices such as bed rails, floor mats or adjust the bed height appropriately based on known risk factors. Can mats be intelligent and measure falls?
  • Assistive devices available with Bluetooth operational call buttons or bed alarms to alert staff when a resident tries to move without assistance. Motion alarms or sensors on clothing?
  • Training videos for better safe patient handling  How do you train on the spot?
  • Software that can measure a gait and provide risk assessment and functional capacity of clients so that staff can be properly trained and capacity for falling is measured and recorded.

Speaker Bio: Phil Marechal

Phil Marechal grew up in the Washington D.C. and for the last 13 years in San Francisco and has more than 25 years of marketing, engineering and sales experience within the technology sector working for companies including Polycom, 3M, Accord Networks and Cisco Systems. Phil and his wife Michelle acquired the South Peninsula Home Instead Senior Care franchise seven years ago; founded in 1997, after deciding they wanted to be involved in providing services that would support people in the community. The Home Instead CAREGivers provide non-medical, in-home services to seniors in Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, Woodside, Redwood City, San Carlos, and Belmont California.

Michelle Rogers and her husband Phil Marechal then purchased the Home Instead Senior Care franchise in San Francisco in March 2013 and Phil is managing the day to day operation having left Cisco. Phil is focused on taking the best practices that made Mountain View Home Instead a leader in its local market, and applying these practices to San Francisco. In the last five months Phil has created a full training academy certified by the state of California with a nurse educator for CAREGivers; as well as hired a second nurse to ensure the quality of care is ensured for every senior in their practice with nursing home care visits every month. He has also purchased a Live Scan Machine for electronic fingerprinting of all employees. Finally, he has teamed with Samuel Merritt University for clinical training of nurses in the Masters of Case Management program.

Phil has a Masters in Science in Information Systems from Capitol College as well as four patents from Cisco Systems for the development of the Cisco TelePresence system. He has currently a CNA graduate from Northern California School of Nursing and is also attending Nebraska University Gerontology Masters On-Line program from Lincoln and Omaha Nebraska.

Michelle and Phil are actively involved on the board of Community Service Agency, a safety net for the Mountain View, Los Altos area; supporting Kiwanis Club of Los Altos; and are members of Financial Planning Association in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Phil is involved in annual fund raiser for Alzheimers Association. He is also on the board of the Curry Senior Center and San Francisco Executives Association.


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Key words: 
fall prevention, falling, falls