A sensor app that monitors pressure and position and provides around-the-clock information to carers and clinicians could help prevent wheelchair-related pressure sores, scoliosis and respiratory problems, its creators say.
The loop+ remote care management startup will trial the system with $500,000 of funding from the icare Foundation, a social venture established by Insurance and Care NSW to fund innovative approaches to injury recovery.
The funds will be used to develop a prototype wheelchair which will be piloted at a NSW spinal unit.
The app is the first product on the loop+ platform for clinicians and people with limited mobility, which uses sensors integrated into assistive devices and the home to provide continuous monitoring.
Ensuring healthy wheelchair habits
The wheelchair app uses a sensor pad positioned in the wheelchair to feed back information about seated position, pressure and temperature.
Interim icare general manager Barney Smith says more than 85 per cent of wheelchair users will develop a pressure injury in their lifetime.
“We’re always looking for new ways to achieve the best possible outcomes for our participants,” he said.
“Our goal is to help to accelerate early-stage innovations from prototype into real technologies that will improve quality of life for people living with spinal cord injuries and empower them to take control of their health and return to their communities sooner.”
Loop+ founder and CEO Kath Hamilton, said feedback from the system will also encourage healthy wheelchair habits and minimise issues like scoliosis and respiratory problems.
“The platform aims to assist both clients and allied health professionals to significantly improve the quality of the care provided and manage the risk of health issues,” she said.
“As a remote care monitoring platform, it translates and tracks care plans into the home, supporting wheelchair users and their families every day.
The trial is set to finish next July.