This article was initially published in French on infobref.com
For an elderly person, falling on the floor is an accident that can have serious consequences. When a person falls while alone in his or her room, the people who take care of him or her may not be aware of it right away and may not be able to provide assistance quickly. Quebec-based startup LivingSafe has designed a monitoring system that instantly alerts caregivers in a seniors’ residence or care center if a resident falls.
The problem the company is addressing is the lack of resources in senior living facilities to monitor the health of residents, specifically to prevent fall hazards and help residents quickly if they fall in their rooms.
“The grandmother of one of my co-founding partners in the company fell in her residence,” says Anika Munn, co-founder and chief operating officer of LivingSafe Technologies. She couldn’t call for help. It took several hours before she received any.”
Currently, making sure everything is okay for a resident requires a staff member to go into their room to check on them. With an aging population on one hand and a shortage of manpower on the other, the human resources of senior residences and long-term care centers are often overloaded: they cannot ensure continuous monitoring of residents and patients.
Installing surveillance cameras in rooms is usually not a solution, because they are a permanent intrusion into the privacy of residents.
The solution that LivingSafe offers is called Lisa. It is an intelligent monitoring system adapted to senior residences. Lisa’s presence manifests itself in the form of a white box, stuck to the wall in each resident’s room.
A Lisa box hanging on the wall in a senior’s residence room
The box contains radar sensors,” explains Anika Munn. They pick up shapes, differentiating furniture from individuals. But they don’t capture images. So they take privacy into account. The analysis of the captured data allows us to know if the person is standing, sitting or lying in bed, if they are breathing, if they are on the toilet, or if by misfortune they have fallen.”
The data is transmitted to a mobile app installed on the phones of staff assigned to serve residents.
“The app generates alerts,” says Anika Munn, “for example, if the person falls, goes out of the room for a nightly wander, or is immobile longer than they should be. The app also gives an overall picture, in the form of a status: is the person in their room? Alone, or with others?”
LivingSafe’s business model is a lease of the device – sensor boxes and app – to facilities. The first targeted facilities house semi-autonomous individuals, who require certain care or special services.
Currently, the company has built an initial minimum viable product of its Lisa device. It is being tested in a pilot project at Habitations Bordeleau in Saint-Charles-Borromée, Lanaudière.
LivingSafe has signed a commercial partnership with Montreal-based Virtuose Technologies. The agreement will allow Lisa to be integrated into Rimouski-based Hopem’s Symo care management software, which is used in seniors’ residences.
“Our goal is to have all the information captured by Lisa integrated into the ecosystems already used daily by the care teams,” says Anika Munn.
LivingSafe employs six full-time staff, plus interns and consultants. The company is one of 20 startups selected this year in Startup Montréal‘s Bourse+ program.
Next steps for the company
LivingSafe will begin a new, larger pilot project, with 70 sensor boxes installed in 3 residences. The company is preparing to commercialize Lisa next year. In the longer term, it wants to refine the analysis of the data from its boxes to measure the evolution of people’s activity level and, thus, facilitate their medical follow-up.
“Eventually, our technology could even be used for home care,” says Anika Munn.
LivingSafe is currently organizing a financing round to complete the development of its technology and accelerate its commercialization.