Benetas steps forward on sensor floors

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An Australian aged-care provider will be scoping out the benefits of sensor flooring. Benetas will install the technology, which originated from Aalto University, in Espoo, Finland, beneath the regular flooring at the provider’s new St Paul’s Terrace Aged Care Apartments aged-care development, due to open later this year. Project manager Aaron Wyllie, from the Benetas research department, said the technology works by sending a low-level electric current through the floor that interacts with anyone standing on it. “In terms of what it looks like, it’s similar to what you’d have in an iPad touchscreen and it picks up the pressure from people moving or walking on the floor,” he said.

Dr Sophie Mepham, innovation, policy and research manager at Benetas, said the research would focus on the benefits to residents – in relation to addressing frequency and impact of falls and associated confidence – and how the technology affects staff in their day-to-day work. Through the technology, key staff should be notified immediately if a resident has taken a fall, along with a range of other motions, which the provider said would help staff respond more quickly, particularly during the night. Benetas added the system would also help staff identify changes in residents’ behaviour, such as wandering. Mepham said: “International research suggests this technology could greatly assist with the reduction of injuries experienced by aged-care residents, while also giving them a sense of safety and freedom.

“It could also cut business costs dramatically, as frontline staff would be able to shift their focus to more proactive care, reducing time spent on routine checking.” The team will work with residents, their families and staff to determine how well the flooring has worked for them and whether it would benefit residents across all Benetas sites, as well as aged-care homes across Australia. The provider also announced that a significant portion of the $650,000 flooring cost would be waived by the Australian distributor of the flooring, Healthcare Lifting Specialists.

Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/agedcareinsite/aaron-wyllie-and-sophie-mepham

Product information: Elsi Smart Floor - Smart Floor Monitoring System