Avoiding Fall Related Injuries in Older Adults – An Interdisciplinary Design Approach

Year: 2016
Editor: Boks, Casper; Sigurjonsson, Johannes; Steinert, Martin; Vis, Carlijn; Wulvik, Andreas
Author: Sankowski, Olga (1); Wollesen, Bettina (2); Köhler, Berit (2); Krause, Dieter (1); Mattes, Klaus (2)
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: 1: Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Germany; 2: Universtität Hamburg, Germany
Section: Healthcare and Welfare Design
Page(s): 268-277
ISBN: 978-1-904670-80-3


Because of the frequency and severe consequences of falls in the elderly, falling is one of the major public health issues. It would be a substantial improvement to reduce the severity and occurrence of post fall injuries. Several technical devices are already used to reduce the risk of falling (e.g. walking aids) or to detect falls (e.g. sensors worn on wrist). However, the underlying biomechanical and kinematical principles predicting falls and their direction remain unknown. Further research and evaluation are therefore necessary in this field. The presented findings will help to close this gap and will be a first step towards an interdisciplinary approach for a personalized design of an airbag system for the prevention of fall-related injuries in the elderly. In a first step, we evaluate possible ways to predict falls and fall directions using kinematic and biomechanical parameters. In a second step we analyse existing products, which aim at detecting falls and avoiding fall-related injuries in regard to compliance and technology acceptance. The research findings of the human movement science and the results of the product-analysis will be transferred into the product development process of fall protection system preventing fall-related injuries in the elderly.

One final result will be a design approach for a variable and modular design of a fall protector.

Keywords: Personalisation, Biomechanics, Older Adults, Falling

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