How a airbag device may greatly reduce nursing home hip injuries

As we age, our ability to balance declines. Each year, at least 300,000 seniors age 65 and older are hospitalized with hip fractures. 95 percent of these fractures are caused by falls.

One of the many tell-tale signs of nursing home abuse and neglect is when residents experience falls. Often times, they occur because a resident is left unattended. If that person needs to get around to the restroom or to venture out into the hallway, they may try without a walker or necessary support of facility staff.

When a senior falls and fractures their hip, it often proves to be deadly. Thankfully, there's a new product that's being currently tested in nursing homes that may save many seniors' lives if they fall in the future.

The Helite Hip'Air is an adjustable belt-like safety device that firmly clasps around a senior's waist. It apparently has a built-in algorithm that helps the belt sense when an individual is simply walking normally or is about to fall.

It works very similarly to a car airbag in that accelerometers and gyroscopes are used as sensors within the device.

According to the company, when it senses a fall is imminent, it inflates one bag over each hip within 200 milliseconds. What makes this product different from airbags, though, is how it's reusable. It simply requires that someone repacks it and replaces its inflator after it deploys.

Trial studies of the product's effectiveness have shown the Hip'Air appears to cushion the impact of a fall by as much as 90 percent. Apparently, similar types of products have already been developed by the company to help cushion falls by skiers, motorcyclists and equestrians.

Once readily available on the market, a product like this is likely to help save countless seniors from enduring lengthy recoveries or from dying from falls in nursing homes. Even if a product like this does hit the market, though, it doesn't take away from other injuries that nursing home residents may suffer due to inadequate staff being hired to work in these facilities.

If you suspect that loved one has suffered injuries due to being poorly taken care of by their caregivers, then a Tucson nursing home abuse and neglect attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.

Source: Business Insider, "This personal airbag could help protect the elderly from hip injuries," Lauren Shamo, accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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