Falls and Fracture Prevention programme that will see the realisation of the first of these, a hip protector, through to production and consumer sale
Hip fractures in older adults, particularly females, are common and can be devastating. Prevention of fragility fracture is possible however and previous NICE reviews have identified an unmet need for a flexible, comfortable and unobtrusive hip protector. The evidence for the medical efficacy of existing products is mixed possibility in part due to issues of low adherence, primarily due to their thickness and poor design rendering them ineffective. New alternatives to traditional hip protectors are required.
Armourgel Medical Ltd are developing a new line of preventative and predictive medical products. Phase 2 of an SBRI funded project is underway – SMART Clothing: Falls and Fracture Prevention programme that will see the realisation of the first of these, a hip protector, through to production and consumer sale. The hip protector range combines three key technologies; Armourgel protector, seamless garment and monitoring alert system. This enables an integrated and user centred design; the first of its kind. The integration of a predictive monitoring system with SMART energy absorbing materials which reduce the occurrence of fragility fractures is the first step towards a preventative healthcare model, enabling intervention before a critical event. Combined, these technologies may offer a solution for long term care of an increasingly ageing population; providing the confidence to maintain an active lifestyle, promoting independent living and reducing reliance on the National Health Service by preventing life limiting injury.
CATCH at the University of Sheffield are currently working with older adults in Abbeyfield supported living schemes to co-design the hip protectors and test adherence and feasibility of the garments prior to undertaking a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the product.
The project is funded by consultancy monies as part of a large SBRI phase 2 funded programme.