Balance measurements for the elderly have begun at the Birgittakoti care home in Naantali, with a new mobile measurement technology previously used to rehabilitate professional ice hockey players.
Customers of daytime rehabilitation at the Birgittakoti care home are the first senior citizens in Finland to pilot the Ainone Balance measurement application, which provides numerical data on balance development.
Katja Suuronen, Director of the care home, says that balance testing has been done before for customers of this type at Birgittakoti, but this involved monitoring balance development through physiotherapists’ assessments. To maintain maximum reliability, each such assessment should be done by the same person.
– The new measurement application makes testing faster and easier, and the results are easier to interpret, Suuronen says.
Small and lightweight measuring instrument
The new element introduced to balance measurements by Ainone Balance is mobile technology. In practice, all you need is a motion sensor on a heart rate belt, and an application downloaded on a tablet. The product uses the open development Movesense motion-sensing module by Suunto.
Ainone’s co-founder, Jarmo Koivisto, a physiotherapist specialising in the rehabilitation of special groups, explains that the mobile measurement concept took flight due to the difficult and impractical nature of previous balance measurement methods. Measuring instruments, such as force plates, are large, heavy and expensive.
Almost four years ago, Koivisto and Matti Vartiainen, Ainone’s CEO, founded a start-up and began developing a product. Ainone Balance®, a professional CE marked medical device, was launched around a year ago.
– The device can be used to monitor rehabilitation and coaching, as well as assessing human performance. It has been used by Finnish Elite Ice Hockey League and Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) teams among others, says Koivisto, who has also pursued a career as a strength and conditioning coach for the ice hockey team, Jokerit, and the KHL League..
– Our pilot at the Birgittakoti care home is the first one based on older people using our product. Naantali is a pioneer in introducing such technologies, Koivisto says.