The non-invasive monitoring and alert system from Melbourne innovation and technology company Sleeptite can now capture an aged care resident’s heart rate and respiratory data via sensors in their bed.

Sleeptite’s REMi, which was launch March, comprises flexible sensors integrated into a medical grade mattress cover, a backend platform that analyses the data and a front-end user interface for aged care staff.

It has been developed by RMIT University and Sleepeezee Bedding Australia with a $1.7 million Cooperative Research Centre grant to non-intrusively monitor residents during the night and alert staff at critical moments, such as when a resident falls or is at risk of falling.

REMi, which already monitored resident’s presence, posture and position, can now also monitor their heart rate and respiratory vitals.

Sleeptite CEO Cameron van den Dungen said the capturing of heart rate and respiratory data has been successfully tested in the lab.

“The fact that we’ve been able to deliver that in the lab and the fact that we’ve been able to prove the extraction in our current testing environments is extremely encouraging,” Mr van den Dungen told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Being able to track respiratory and heart rate data opens the doorway to diagnosis and intervention for residents, he said.

REMi bed and sensor

“The additional functionality that can come down the track by understanding respiratory rates, heart rates and the various things that happened through the course of a night gives us more scope to work with machine learning and artificial intelligence to start diagnosing [residents],” Mr van den Dungen said.

“In the long-term, it will assist and take some menial tasks off our carers so they can focus on the job that they are there to do. And they just want care for the residents or care for the loved ones,” he said.

The developers will next conduct an 18-month trial to test its reliability in residential aged care homes as well as another trial to test REMi in home care settings.

“The main focus is getting the position, posture and presence piece ready for commercialisation within the next 18 months,” Mr van den Dungen said.

Cameron van den Dungen and Jane O’Dwyer

Cooperative Research Centres Association CEO Jane O’Dwyer said the team at Sleeptite has moved quickly to manufacture REMi to make it both affordable and accurate she said.

“It is that combination of speed to manufacture and making it accessible in aged care that means we will likely see REMi commonly used in aged care very soon,” Ms O’Dwyer told AAA.

“It shows all the potential of being a smart piece of Australian technology that will make it easier for aged care providers to monitor, and the data gathered while monitoring that contributes to our body of knowledge of the causes and predictors of falls in aged care.

 Sleep diagnosis study underway

Sleeptite has also partnered with Flinders University and RMIT to evaluate REMi’s capability as a validation tool for sleep disorders.

“Because we are extracting data off the surface of the mattress through the course of a night, it has the potential to be used as a sleep diagnostic tool,” Mr van den Dungen said.

The six-month trial will involve 30 participants with sleeping disorders including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, he said.

Main image: REMi alert for a person who has fallen out of bed

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