Jointly funded by TTSH and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), this Joint Grant Programme aims to drive innovation in geriatric care and/or health and social care integration into proof-of-concept solutions, to positively impact our care for older patients and the larger community.
An initiative that started since 2016, the Joint Grant Programme has funded a total of 15 projects to-date, with each comprising clinical investigators from TTSH and technical/engineering investigators from NYP.
Read on for some project highlights.
Development of nutritive snack for silver age patients with swallowing impairment
In TTSH, around 40% of patients are on modified diet and fluid consistencies. This patient group tends to have lower calories and protein intake, leading to a higher risk of malnutrition and dehydration. Through this project, the team developed two ready-to-serve, locally-flavoured paste products suitable for dysphagic individuals in terms of nutritional content, texture and consistency. Other than patients and their caregivers, nurses and dietitians were all receptive towards the paste snacks. Aiming for product commercialisation, the team is currently exploring with manufacturers for a heat-resistant and non-fragile packaging at a competitive rate.
Development of an Immersive Dual Task Training and Assessment Platform for Older Adults
Leveraging on the innovative technological capabilities from NYP, the TTSH-NYP team developed an immersive game-based dual tasking training and assessment platform for older adults. Studies have shown that dual task training is beneficial for older adults to improve their balance and gait towards mitigating falls risk.
Incorporating a virtual reality game atop a motorised treadmill setup, older adults train both their motor and cognitive functions while enjoying the game in a safe manner. With the encouraging trial results in healthy older participants, the team looks forward to evaluate the dual task training effect in older adults with high fall risks.
Smart Feeding Device
Feeding, an activity of daily living (ADL), is an area where technology can improve productivity and at the same time alleviate the burden of caregivers; especially those who need to take care of patients suffering from upper and lower limbs disability or are too frail to feed themselves. In the case of community hospitals and nursing homes where there are more of such patients and the ratio of nurse-to-patient is lower, the task of feeding the patients will be daunting and the nurses are likely to be overworked. This situation is expected to be exacerbated by our ageing population. Moreover, there is a perpetual shortage of healthcare workers in this area due to the nature of the work. Hence, a smart feeding device will be helpful.
The aim of this project is to develop healthcare robotics technology through the design of a smart feeding device that can improve the productivity of healthcare givers and to alleviate their burden. The team has successfully developed a prototype that is able to automatically determine the trajectory to the user’s mouth without caregiver’s intervention.
For future plans and developments, the team will look into improving detection of opening mouth accurately and swiftly, conducting trials on targeted patients, safety compliance and use of multiple bowl shapes and sizes for the device.