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Exciting new about a recent SAM3 Project with TochTech Inc.

Sensor technology piloted in retirement home can improve health and safety of residents, study finds

May 2, 2023 (Ottawa, ON) – Many seniors struggle with insomnia or may be living with dementia – conditions that can put them at increased risk of injury from nighttime wandering and falls. Nevertheless, overnight staff at care homes are faced with the challenge of providing direct and continuous monitoring of all at-risk residents. With funding and advisory support from OBIO®, through its Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN™), researchers at Bruyère partnered with Tochtech Technologies to evaluate the Toch Sleepsense, an award-winning bed alarm system’s ability to monitor nocturnal activity in real-time.

Toch Sleepsense is a non-contact sleep monitoring device, easily placed under the foot of a bed that is uniquely designed to detect when a person exits the bed. The system can provide “out-of-bed” alerts to care teams, helping them respond quickly to residents who may be at risk of falling or wandering, and generates high-level reports on sleep quality, helping health care providers better support a resident’s care.

Over the course of a five-month pilot, AGE-WELL SAM3 National Innovation Hub researchers validated the technology’s accuracy in an objective laboratory setting at Carleton University with multiple bed styles and sensor placements. The evaluation was also conducted, in a real-world environment, located at The Courtyards on Eagleson, a seniors’ retirement community for people living with dementia that is owned and operated by All Seniors Care Living Centres.

The evaluation found that Sleepsense was successful in monitoring high-risk residents getting out of bed and wandering at nighttime by effectively alerting staff, which reduces the need for hourly checks on all residents’ rooms.

“Staff members felt the technology supported their work enabling them ultimately to provide better care for their residents,” said Dr. Frank Knoefel, Senior Investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute and consultant at Courtyards. “Not only can this technology support resident safety, we saw real examples of it supporting resident health when a family noticed their loved one was tired during daytime visits. Thanks to the available data on sleep cycles that the sensors also capture, we were able to recommend medication adjustments and monitor changes to the resident’s sleep pattern. One family was really happy to see objective evidence of sleep improvement in real time.”

Between validated testing in a controlled and home care environment, outcomes show the valuable impact the Sleepsense technology can have for long-term care and retirement homes. With the assessment resulting in a positive determination of value, OBIO’s EAHN™ program will now provide follow-on funding and advisory support to EAHN™ members to plan and implement the procurement of Sleepsense in accordance with provincial procurement guidelines.

“The evaluation demonstrates that this innovative, made-in-Canada solution will help to improve the care and safety of residents in long-term care settings who frequently get out of bed and wander­­­ at night, said Dr. Maura Campbell, OBIO® President and CEO. “OBIO® welcomes any opportunity to bring commercial-ready technologies that have a positive impact on patient care to the healthcare system.”

“We are pleased that our partnership with Bruyère can help continue improving the care journey of the aging population,” said Jessica Yang, CEO, Tochtech Technologies. “The EAHN™ program provides critical exposure for this innovative technology across the Ontario health care sector.”