Falls are one of the most costly population health issues. Screening of older adults for fall risks can allow for earlier interventions and ultimately lead to better outcomes and reduced public health spending. This work proposes a solution to limitations in existing fall screening techniques by utilizing a hip-based accelerometer worn in free-living conditions. The work proposes techniques to extract fall risk features from periods of free-living ambulatory activity. Analysis of the proposed techniques is conducted and compared with existing screening methods using Functional Tests and Lab-based Gait Analysis. 1705 Older Adults from Umea (Sweden) were assessed. Data consisted of 1 Week of hip worn accelerometer data, gait measurements and performance metrics for 3 functional tests. Retrospective and Prospective fall data were also recorded based on the incidence of falls occurring 12 months before and after the study commencing respectively. Machine learning based experiments show accelerometer based measures perform best when predicting falls. Prospective falls had a sensitivity and specificity of 0.61 and 0.66 respectively while retrospective falls had a sensitivity and specificity of 0.61 and 0.68 respectively.
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- fall risk assessment
- machine learning
- Wearable sensors