When I was designing the Balance Mat I looked at the Australian CS&QHC (Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care) Falls Guidelines.
These recommend best practice falls assessment methods be used during admission of older people to hospital and residential aged care facilities.
The Unimetric Balance Mat is an Australian-made, patented balance measurement system that can take the guesswork out of falls risk assessment.
Any score of 0.6 or above on the Unimetric Balance Mat in the normal stance (feet together) signifies that the person is at risk of falling.
The mat is non-threatening for older people to stand on. It looks just like a floor mat with two yellow footprints on it.
However, that’s where the simplicity ends. It’s actually a very sophisticated electronic algorithmic sensing device that measure’s a person’s proprioception – the small almost imperceptible movements they make to remain standing.
I would never claim that our Balance Mat system is going to replace the years of knowledge, experience and observation that doctors, nurses and physiotherapists have built up and routinely use in their practice.
We are not healthcare or fitness professionals. We are not medical practitioners. We are not researchers with hundreds of thousands of dollars at our disposal. We are just a small Australian company that has developed a patented electronic balance measurement system that is new to the world.
Neither are we going to replace the well-established series of falls screening questionnaires, tests and physical activities that are currently in use under the Falls Guidelines.
All we can do is offer a product that works as an adjunct to current practices – something that can confirm the assessments doctors, nurses and other healthcare practitioners make by other means.
Although we are excited it is always going to be up to the experts to decide what falls mitigation measures they put in place.
The fact that our test balance test only takes 30 seconds has to be of benefit in time-poor clinical and aged care settings.
What we’re all about is providing medical and healthcare professionals with a product that can assist them to do their jobs better because we know that good balance equals good health.