Benetas, a leading Australian aged care provider is evaluating the benefits of sensor flooring by installing the technology at their newest facility.

The sensor flooring technology developed at the Aalto University in Espoo, Finland will be installed beneath the regular flooring at Benetas’ new St Paul’s Terrace Aged Care Apartments development.

Project manager Aaron Wyllie from the Benetas research department explains that the technology works by sending a low-level electric current through the floor that interacts with anyone standing on it. Comparing it to an iPad touchscreen, he said the electric signal picks up the pressure from people moving or walking on the floor.

Dr Sophie Mepham, innovation, policy and research manager at Benetas, said the study would focus on the sensor floor technology’s benefits to residents, especially in addressing the frequency and impact of falls as well as how the technology affects staff in their day-to-day work.

The installation will help key staff know immediately if a resident has taken a fall, along with a range of other motions, which the provider said would allow staff to respond more quickly, particularly during the night. The system would also help staff identify changes in residents’ behaviour, such as wandering.

According to Mepham, international research suggests this technology could greatly assist with the reduction of injuries experienced by aged care residents, while also giving them a sense of safety and freedom.

Elaborating on other benefits, Mepham said the technology could also cut business costs dramatically, as frontline staff would be able to shift their focus to more proactive care, reducing time spent on routine monitoring. The team will work with residents, their families and staff to determine how well the flooring has worked for them and whether it would benefit residents across all Benetas sites, as well as aged care homes across Australia.

The provider also announced that a significant portion of the $650,000 cost would be waived by the Australian distributor of the sensor flooring, Healthcare Lifting Specialists.

Image: The sensor floor picks up the pressure from people moving or walking on the floor