Proposal for a multiphase fall model based on real-world fall recordings with body-fixed sensors
Falls are by far the leading cause of fractures and accidents in the home environment. The current Cochrane reviews and other systematic reviews report on more than 200 intervention studies about fall prevention. A recent meta-analysis has summarized the most important risk factors of accidental falls. However, falls and fall-related injuries remain a major challenge. One novel approach to recognize, analyze, and work better toward preventing falls could be the differentiation of the fall event into separate phases. This might aid in reconsidering ways to design preventive efforts and diagnostic approaches. From a conceptual point of view, falls can be separated into a pre-fall phase, a falling phase, an impact phase, a resting phase, and a recovery phase. Patient and external observers are often unable to give detailed comments concerning these phases. With new technological developments, it is now at least partly possible to examine the phases of falls separately and to generate new hypotheses. The article describes the practicality and the limitations of this approach using body-fixed sensor technology. The features of the different phases are outlined with selected real world fall signals.