A Melbourne research and advanced manufacturing company has launched a smart night-time monitoring and falls alert system to improve resident care and assist staff workflow.

Sleeptite’s REMi is a three-part non-invasive monitoring and alerts system made up of 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 in collaboration with RMIT University and Sleepeezee Bedding Australia and with the support of a $1.7 million Cooperative Research Centre grant.

REMi has been designed 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.

Sleeptite CEO Cameron van den Dungen said the technology is ready for field testing in residential aged care following successful home trials and durability testing in the lab.

“We do have an agreement in place with an aged care provider to start a field trial and we are going to make that announcement once the paperwork is signed,” Mr van den Dungen told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Cameron van den Dungen

“We believe by the end of this year, we will be in a position to start selling that product to markets all across Australia, and hopefully not long after into the international markets.”

He said he was excited with the progress of the technology, which he started working on about 10 years ago.

“One of the big things I wanted to work on years ago was how we increase the quality of care through the course of a night by giving the carers the most valuable tools to do their job as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Mr van den Dungen said.

REMi’s key features include that it’s a “nearable” rather than a wearable technology and its sensors can help staff determine a resident’s location and posture, he said.

We’re tracking and testing the presence of a person, not just a heavy object, so if a person is in bed or not in bed. And the other one is their posture in bed, so where they’re positioned on the bed, as opposed to just whether they’re in bed or not.”

REMi is also able track respiratory data but these features are still in development and undergoing testing, Mr van den Dungen said.

Sensors integreted in the REMi mattress cover

He said REMi would benefit aged care residents because staff would only interrupt their sleep when it’s needed.

“They’re left alone to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep and they only have someone coming to check on them or deal with them when there is a concern, or an alert has been triggered.”

Similarly, it offer care workers peace of mind, Mr van den Dungen said.

“It’s an additional tool that they need to make sure that everybody in their care is being looked after and everybody’s being monitored at all times through the course of a night.”

Health profressional viewing a REMi user profile

RMIT University co-leader of the Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group Professor Madhu Bhaskaran said REMi showed the power of collaboration, mutual respect and shared goals.

“We’ve gone from lab bench to commercialisation in just three years – solving myriad challenges along the way – to deliver smart home-grown tech that will be manufactured right here in Australia.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see the sensor we developed leaping out from our lab and into the world, to improve the care of some of our most vulnerable people,” Professor Bhaskaran said.

Sleepeezee Bedding Australia managing director Bill Mantzis said companies that invest in innovation, research and development of new technologies will set the scene for the industry.

“There has been such a focus on aged care since the royal commission and I think Sleepeezee, and any other companies that have the ability to innovate in this space, have an obligation to assist in solving the issues that have become quite prevalent in aged care,” Mr Mantzis said.

Main image: REMi product demonstration.

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