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Morten Kjærgaard, (left ) CTO and co-founder of SENS & Kasper Lundberg Lykkegaard, CEO and co-founder of SENS

SENS motion Increases Physical Activity Among Hospitalised Patients

Harnessing the latest technology and user experience design, SENS motion has created a solution that has motivated patients at Bispebjerg Hospital to increase their activity by 51 minutes a day. The solution collects valuable data that has freed time for healthcare professionals to focus on priority needs.

Elderly people who are hospitalised typically spend the majority of their day lying in bed, losing muscle strength due to inactivity. Following their discharge, they are more likely to struggle with balance, daily chores, are at a higher risk of falls, are less mobile, and face social isolation and increased care needs. In turn, rehabilitation becomes more complicated and many people end up returning to the hospital a short time after they are discharged.

Photo: Sens

While avoiding re-hospitalisation requires some effort, new research shows that just 100 steps a day can reduce the risk of re-admission by as much as 10 per cent. According to Kasper Lundberg Lykkegaard, the CEO and co-founder of SENS motion, digital solutions can play a part in this:

“Our solution helps hospitalised patients to become more active and provides staff with an overview of a patient’s level of physical activity. Using objective data, providers can prioritise how they spend their time and offer care that is tailored to individual needs”.

As something relatively unique, the company has proven that using a well-designed, digital solution helps patients to become more active in hospital settings during prolonged stays.

How good design motivates activity

SENS motion equips patients with a discrete patch and built-in sensor. The reusable sensor measures how much they move around in the run of a day and the level of effort they expend. The data is then sent to an app, where both patients and healthcare professionals can track the activity level.

SENS motion have designed the app in collaboration with both the nursing staff, researchers and the patients. Although sensor technology and advanced algorithms are at the core, the app had to be user friendly to motivate activity and provide clear feedback. In Lykkegaard’s words:

Photo: Sens

“In the first version, we presented users with many figures, but it actually frightened some of them so much that they put the app in the drawer and didn’t use it”.

Learning from the initial tests and use cases, the app now provides patients with a simulated experience of walking around Copenhagen. Based on their level of activity, they reach and explore different sights.

“In this way, we have created something that adapts to the individual. The first sights are not far away, but require a great deal of effort to reach by patients who have mobility issues. At the same time, there are meaningful goals for those who are very active”, Lykkegaard explains.

Towards optimisation of processes

While some patients are intrinsically motivated, others require a push and clear performance expectations to stay active during hospitalisation. SENS motion provide this via the personal app and capture objective data on patients’ activities which can assist the physiotherapists and nurses:

Photo: Sens

“The physiotherapists no longer have to spend their precious time charting how much Ms. Olsen moved in the past few days. By referring to SENS’ data the therapist can provide the patient with a much more personalised feedback on their physical activity performance. This allows the conversation to start somewhere else, making the physiotherapists much more focused and effective at their work”, Lykkegaard points out.

With the ability to measure the patients activity the staff can optimize processes and workflows.

“A separate screen for hospital staff will provide an overview and the data provide the opportunity to set parameters for physical activity – e.g. goals for how active the patients should be each day,” Lykkegaard explains.

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Help during COVID19

SENS motion has provided equipment to hospitals that are struggling with capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic – ensuring no patients are overlooked even when staff members are busy.

FACTS: SENS motion at Bispebjerg Hospital

  • SENS motion uses a patch with a built-in sensor and an associated app to motivate hospitalised patients to become more active.
  • In a study conducted at Bispebjerg Hospital, patients who were capable of walking by themselves spent an average of 51 more minutes out of bed when using the app compared to the control group.
  • SENS motion has been evaluated for implementation (by MAST) and the results were published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine.
  • Based on the promising outcomes at Bispebjerg Hospital, SENS motion is in the process of identifying additional hospitals where they can implement the system.
  • This project was supported by the Association of Danish Physiotherapists and was carried out in collaboration with the Physio- and Occupational Therapy Department at Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg hospitals, the Welfare Tech, the Capital Region of Denmark, and SENS Innovation ApS.