How a measuring bracelet supports individual dementia therapy
Dementia has been increasing steadily for years. According to the Fraunhofer Institute, more than 70 percent of those over 80 are affected. Although research in this area is in full swing, healing therapy is not expected in the near future. However, a new bracelet should at least facilitate the care of those affected and improve the quality of life of patients. The wristband serves as a measurement and counseling system and, with inconspicuous sensors, continuously provides up-to-date data that can be used for individualized therapy.
Fraunhofer researchers developed the new care bracelet together with partners. This could currently be used for almost 1.6 million people with dementia in Germany who are becoming increasingly helpless in the course of the disease and who need care. More and more young people are also affected. The majority of those affected suffer from Alzheimer's dementia. The data from the bracelet enable individualized therapy and better care. The information obtained in this way can also be used to develop more efficient treatments.
The bracelet is a kind of early warning system
The Fraunhofer Institute states that data currently available from care are unstructured and difficult to use. Preventive measures can often not be initiated in good time due to a lack of information. This is to be changed with the PYRAMID project. The aim of the institute and its partners is to establish a new care concept that improves the quality of life of people with dementia and their relatives. In addition, closer cooperation with nursing and medical staff is also to be realized in this way.
The high-tech wristwatch
The modularly expandable measuring and counseling system in the form of a wristwatch automatically measures the necessary health and care data of the dementia patient. "The aim is to provide the patient with unobtrusive support from suspected diagnosis to clinical care over the years," explains Erik Jung, physicist at Fraunhofer IZM, in a press release. Information could be kept up to date at all times, which increases the self-determination of those affected and gives them a chance to be able to stay in the familiar environment for as long as possible. With the new measuring system, worsening of the course could be recognized in good time and prognostically. This data could then be forwarded to nursing staff or other treatment participants.
What does the bracelet record?
The researchers report that vital parameters such as heart rate, body temperature, but also heart rate variability and skin resistance are measured. In addition, external influences such as outside temperature, brightness and volume are recorded. The patient's movement patterns are also recorded. For example, if a person with dementia hardly moves or leaves their home, this can indicate a deterioration.
Relatives should be included in the concept
In addition to the data collected by the wristband, regularly filled in questionnaires from relatives should be evaluated and included in the diagnosis. The collected data is then transferred to a documentation system taking current data protection guidelines into account and can be forwarded to the desired recipients from there, for example via an app.
Small technical masterpiece
The complete measuring system is inconspicuously integrated in the bracelet. It contains a microcontroller that collects the data, a Bluetooth module, a battery, a USB interface and an NFC antenna, which can also be used as an automatic door opener. Concept and design studies have already been completed. A prototype for demonstration purposes is currently under construction. "We are confident that the measurement system will increase patient care, improve cooperation between all parties involved, and identify emergency situations such as falls more quickly," sums up Erik Jung. (vb)