What if you could program a computer chip — through brain training and artificial intelligence — to actually tell the difference between regular movement and what a fall actually looks like?

By Pam McDonald

At this year’s PEAK Leadership Summit, part of Leading Age’s Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., Senior Housing Forum Publisher Steve Moran sat down with Maggi Broggel, RN, Vice President of Clinical Services and Risk Management and Clinical Marketing; and Fara Gold, Vice President of Business Development, for Blue Willow Systems (a Senior Housing Form partner). Steve asked them what Blue Willow does and what’s unique about it.

Automatically Detecting Critical Resident Care Events

Fara says, “Blue Willow Systems is really a resident safety platform. There are a lot of technology companies out there but what really makes us unique is that we have taken a computer chip and . . . programmed it . . . to understand through computer brain training and artificial intelligence . . . what a fall looks like versus movement.”

After almost 50,000-laboratory fall sets, Blue Willow System’s engineers were able to program its wearable wristband to detect and recognize falls in unlimited possible scenarios. “So what is so unique about us,” Fara says, “we actually have that artificial intelligence to tell you when a resident has fallen.”

Improving Pull Cord and Pendant Notification

And, that can happen if someone has had a cognitive event, like a stroke, where they cannot call out or push a button. Fara says, “We’re looking at how do we replace those antiquated pendants and pull cords so that you in caregiving can effectively respond to a fall.”

Explaining that most states still require pull cords or buttons for emergency notification, Fara says, “We want to be a cooperative partner. Because we’re cloud-based we can feed into other emergency call systems or platforms. We want to cooperate and be partners with many other systems.”

Maggi adds, “We see ourselves as an adjunct platform. We talk about Blue Willow Systems . . . as a resident safety platform.” She notes there are three central activities the system performs: automatic fall detection, real time location of residents and staff, and personal wander management.

She says Blue Willow is “much more flexible than say a wander guard system where it’s really just the doors that are alarmed. For us it’s the person that we can set personal boundaries for. That’s what makes it a platform of safety versus just a singular platform of ‘you can’t go out a door.’”

A Personal Monitoring System That’s Truly Personal

Fara reiterates, “The beauty of the personal wander management is that it’s truly personal. We allow you as an operations leader or caregiver to have that alert for each person.

“So, it’s less about the hardware, it’s less about a door, and more about what does that person need to remain, certainly, independent but . . . [with] a level of dignity in whatever community or neighborhood – [whether] it’s independent living, assisted living and, certainly, memory care.”

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Blue Willow Systems uses artificial intelligence (AI) processes and wearable technology to automatically detect residents’ critical care needs, such as falls or elopements. It then alerts staff in real time, and monitors resident’s activity and vital signs until personnel arrives.