The smart-home study: A feasibility study to pilot the use of smartphone technology to identify environmental falls risk factors in the home

Ka Ho Marco Leung, Susan Brandis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: While occupational therapy home assessments are effective to identify environmental falls risk factors, patients may not receive these services due to workforce distribution and geographical distances. Technology may offer a new way for occupational therapists to conduct home assessments to identify environmental fall risks.

OBJECTIVES: To (i) explore the feasability of identifying environmental risk factors using smartphone technology, (ii) develop and pilot a suite of procedures for taking smartphone images and (iii) examine the inter-rater reliability and content validity between occupational therapists when assessing smartphone images using a standardised assessment tool.

METHOD: Following ethical approval a procedure was developed and participants recruited to submit smartphone images of their bedroom, bathroom and toilet. Two independent occupational therapists then assessed these images using a home safety checklist. Findings were analysed using inferential and descriptive statistics.

RESULTS: Of 100 volunteers screened, 20 individuals participated. A guideline for instructing patients to take home images was developed and tested. Participants averaged 9.00 minutes (SD 4.401) to complete the task, whilst occupational therapists took approximately 8 minutes to review the images. The inter-rater reliability between the two therapists was 0.740 (95% CI: 0.452-0.888).

CONCLUSION: The study found that use of smartphones was to a large extent feasible and conclude that the use of smartphone technologies is a potential complimentary service to traditional home visits. The effective prescription of equipment in this trial was identified as a challenge. The impact on costs and potential falls incidents remains uncertain and more research is warranted in representative populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalHong Kong Journal of Occupational Therapy
Volume36
Issue number1
Early online date7 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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