Intelligent, connected flooring at the service of health and well-being.
Intelligent and connected flooring for good health and well-being
The Silver Economy (providing services for senior citizens) is a major challenge in today’s society. Part of that challenge is the design of innovative solutions that improve the seniors’ living conditions and maintain their independency.
Tarkett, a leader in innovative flooring solutions, has developed over the past years a recognized expertise in the healthcare sector, working in close partnership with healthcare facilities such as hospitals, retirement homes and nursing homes.
An ageing population, a public health and societal challenge
Due to the aging population, the market for products aimed at senior citizens is growing rapidly. By 2060, one-third of the French population will be over 60, and there will be more than 5 million people over 85, as compared with 1.4 million today.
Facing this demographic change, the healthcare sector is evolving to adapt to the needs of senior citizens, whatever their level of dependency. One of the challenges of the Silver Economy is to provide the necessary facilities, such as retirement and nursing homes, as well as services adapted to the needs of this demographic group.
Falls, a major risk
The older they get, the higher the risk of falls, especially at night or in the bathroom. After a fall, if the person remains on the ground for too long before help arrives, serious complications with sometimes tragic consequences could occur.
Today, falls are the leading cause of death for those over 65. Each year, 400,000 senior citizens suffer an accidental fall, and 12,000 die as a result.
Alzheimer disease, an increasingly common pathology
Alzheimer disease is growing rapidly as the population ages. According to a study conducted by Alzheimer Disease International, more than 35 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer and other forms of dementia. This number could double to nearly 66 million people in 2030 and could reach 115 million by 2050.
In France, the disease affects 850,000 people, and 200,000 new patients are diagnosed each year. The illness creates behavioral problems requiring close monitoring and care by families and healthcare providers. These problems include wandering and getting lost or confused, as well as changes in the patient’s circadian rhythm, for example making patients more awake and active at night than during the day.
FloorInMotion, a unique solution: an intelligent and connected floor, linked to an alarm and monitoring service
Due to its knowledge of the healthcare market, Tarkett was able to design an innovative solution enabling caregivers to detect abnormal situations or unusual behaviors in senior citizens or residents of healthcare facilities. This major innovation is the result of studies conducted with experts, as well as listening to the needs of patients, families and healthcare professionals.
A simple and complete solution
- A sensor, embedded in the floor, is connected to an electronic card that processes the signal generated when a patient moves or falls.
- A direct connection to the alarm system, permitting immediate action in case of a problem.
- A confidential monitoring service for healthcare providers, accessible by a computer, a tablet or a smartphone, allowing caregivers to monitor the patient’s activities, including falls, room exits or intrusions, as well as daytime and nighttime activities.
Benefits for patients and their families
- Patients appreciate this discreet and invisible system because it preserves their dignity and privacy, unlike more intrusive technologies such as video or bracelets.
- The alarm connection, enabling fast action in the event of a fall or wandering, is reassuring to residents and their families. The system can also be used in the bathroom, a high-risk location for the elderly.
- The system is connected to automated equipments that provide comfort and safety. For example, when the patient gets up during the night, the floor detects the movement, triggering LED-equipped skirtings that light up for guidance. In addition, in the event of a fall, these LEDs will flash and the patient will be reassured knowing that an alarm has been triggered.
Benefits for caregiving teams
- Caregiving teams are relieved from the stress resulting from falls and wanderings, which are difficult to detect in real time. In the event of a fall, the teams can act quickly to help the patient, limiting the sometimes tragic impact of a fall.
- The solution provides healthcare professionals with relevant information about patients’ behavior – information that until now was difficult to obtain. Thanks to this information (such as the number of times a patient gets up during the night, the level of activity by day versus by night, etc.), healthcare providers will proactively identify abnormal behaviors or situations.
- With the monitoring system, the healthcare team will better evaluate the effectiveness of the medical treatment, adjust the medication protocol and proactively administer preventive care.
Benefits for medical and healthcare institutions
- Institutions are better equipped to fulfill their responsibility of ensuring residents’ safety, in particular in the event of a fall or wandering. The solution is always active, since it is directly connected to the existing alarm system.
- The equipment works for both bedrooms and bathrooms. It requires no electrical supply and does not cause any interference with existing electronic equipments.
- With the data stored and managed on a secured server, the monitoring system is available 24 hours a day on a smartphone, a tablet or a computer. The system comes with a user-friendly interface that does not require extensive training.
- Institutions can use this solution to differentiate themselves from their competitors and offer a high level of service.
- Finally, Tarkett offers the entire solution: the flooring (such as vinyl or linoleum), the underlayer including the sensor and the electronic as well as the monitoring systems.
Deployment of this solution
This major innovation is the result of an ambitious program by the Tarkett Research and Innovation department. It also results from Tarkett knowledge and expertise in the healthcare sector and from numerous partnerships with hospitals, retirement homes and universities.
This solution was perfected by a team organized in the form of an incubator and with the support of Tarkett’s dedicated healthcare commercial and marketing teams. The Tarkett Group thus developed expertise in new domains by internally developing specific skills in electronics and “the Internet of things,” adding value to its service offering.
The Group has installed several pilot systems in France in retirement homes and healthcare institutions. This innovative solution was introduced at the Salon de la Santé et de l’Autonomie in Paris (France), from May 20-22, 2014.
It will be marketed late 2014 to healthcare institutions in France.
Tarkett, a recognized in the healthcare sector
Over the last several years, Tarkett has developed a recognized expertise in the healthcare sector and supports its customers in choosing flooring based on location and usage (a high-traffic entry hall, a stress free waiting room, a comforting patient room, a stimulating pediatric playroom or a learning room, an operating room with high technical and cleanliness requirements, or hallway floors and walls resistant to high traffic and heavy stretchers).
Tarkett has conducted in-depth research on the problems related to the aging population and Alzheimer disease. In the “Tarkett Observer” study on the design of buildings for Alzheimer patients, the Group analyzed the positive impact that color, light and materials used in flooring can have on the patients’ emotional state and quality of life.