A clinical study to assess fall risk using a single waist accelerometer
AbstractFalls have various causes and are often associated with mobility impairments. Preventive steps to avoid falls may be initiated, if an increasing fall risk could be detected in time. The objective of this article is to identify an automated sensor-based method to determine fall risk of patients based on objectively measured gait parameters. One hundred fifty-one healthy subjects and 90 subjects at risk of falling were measured during a Timed ‘Up & Go’ test with a single triaxial acceleration sensor worn on a waist belt. The fall risk was assessed using the STRATIFY score. A decision tree induction algorithm was used to distinguish between subjects with high and low risk using the determined gait parameters. The results of the risk classification produce an overall accuracy of 90.4% in relation to STRATIFY score. The sensitivity amount to 89.4%, the specificity to 91.0% and the reliability parameter κ equals 0.79. The method presented is able to distinguish between subjects with high and low fall risk. It is unobtrusive and therefore may be applied over extended time periods. A subsequent study is needed to confirm the model's suitability for data recorded in patients' everyday lives.