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Sensors, gadgets and interventions aim to improve life for aging population

Posted June 15, 2015

The University at Buffalo’s Institute for Person-Centered Care (IPCC) recently awarded grants totaling more than $31,000 to five UB faculty members.

The IPCC, founded in 2012, leads research surrounding person-centered care and aging. The center works to ensure individuals receive the highest level of quality of life, and remain engaged in meaningful relationships and purposeful activities throughout their lifespan, despite disability.

“Aging well is one of the grand challenges facing society,” says Davina Porock, associate dean for research and scholarship in the School of Nursing and director of the IPCC.

“Much research on aging has focused on disease and disability rather than strengths and resilience. Through funding these projects, the IPCC aims to support and bring together a wide range of disciplines to develop approaches, technologies and service models that enable people to age well, strengthen independence and provide services that hold the person’s own values, goals and preferences central to care choices and decisions.”

The projects and grant recipients:

  • “Cyber-empathic healthcare prognostics: Using sensor integrated shoe inserts to support prognostics to mitigate falling in an aging population,” Andrew Olewnik, director of Experimental Learning Programs and adjunct assistant professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Researchers will use shoes implanted with sensors and mobility tests to screen those at-risk for falling. The research could potentially improve screening methods and footwear design to reduce the risk of falling in an aging population.
  • “Facilitating Collaborative Self-Assessment and Monitoring by Elders through Automated Observations of Daily Living,” Eduardo Mercado III, associate professor, Department of Psychology. The project will use a non-invasive sensor, the E4, to collect heart rate, temperature, sleep patterns and other physiological measurements at all times to determine if knowing when problems arise during the day can empower caregivers to identify issues and provide better care.
  • “Unveiling Comfort Measures Only: Nurses Perspective,” Mary Ann Meeker, associate professor, School of Nursing. The project will examine the practices related to Comfort Measures Only (CMO), a medical order that is sometimes applied to guide the care of a seriously ill hospitalized patient, from the perspectives of registered nurses. The findings will contribute to the revision of practices.
  • “Comprehensive In-home Monitoring for Post Stroke Mobility,” Ehsan T Esfahani, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The project will use a wireless in-home monitoring system to aid in the physical rehabilitation of stroke patients. The system will provide instant data on functional task engagement and movement recovery, and will help care professionals monitor progress and recommend further therapy.
  • “Critical Time Intervention: A Person-Centered Approach to Promote Self-Sufficiency in Justice-Involved Individuals,” Linda S. Kahn, professor, Department of Family Medicine. This project will review methods used to treat the justice-involved population, or those who are or have been imprisoned. It will examine if the methods successfully improve the population’s ability to become self-sufficient.

Source: State University of New York at Buffalo

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