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Seed funding for UK technology that may prevent falls

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A healthcare technology firm has won funding of nearly £100,000 to develop a system to prevent frail and elderly hospital patients falling out of bed.

The innovative solution involves using a thermal imaging sensor and computer algorithms to detect changes in a patient’s position in bed.

“Falls cause patients physical harm as well as the mental anguish they and their families experience when this happens in hospital”

Chris Todd

If someone is at risk of falling, the system will send a warning message to nurses or other clinicians so action can be taken.

Lancashire-based company Rinicare was awarded £99,694 through the Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare to develop the technology.

The competitive grant programme is part of an NHS England initiative to develop products to address key problems in healthcare.

The firm will work with University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester on the project.

“We hope it will help NHS staff to monitor patients’ risk as it changes and alert staff to intervene to prevent falls,” said Professor Chris Todd from the university.

Rinicare

Seed funding got UK technology that may prevent falls

From left to right: Soren Udby, Natasha McCrone, Mark Robinson, James Jackson and Samantha Faulkener, of Rinicare Ltd, with Lorna Green, commercial director at the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network

“Hospital falls cost the NHS a huge amount of money each year that could be used elsewhere if the fall hadn’t happened. Even more importantly falls cause patients physical harm as well as the mental anguish they and their families experience when this happens in hospital – a place that is meant to be safe,” he added.

The seed funding will help cover the first phase of developing the falls prevention technology.

If the concept works well and is good value for money, then the company will get further support to transform it into a viable product that could go on to be used in the NHS.

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