A Review of Wireless Sensor Networks for Wellness Monitoring in Residential Aged Care

A Review of Wireless Sensor Networks for Wellness Monitoring in Residential Aged Care

Leroy Lai Yu Chan (University of New South Wales, Australia), Branko George Celler (University of New South Wales, Australia), James Zhaonan Zhang (University of New South Wales, Australia) and Nigel Hamilton Lovell (University of New South Wales, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-183-6.ch017
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With the increasing shift in the population profile to the older demographic and rising healthcare costs, it is more critical for developed countries to deliver long-term and financially sustainable healthcare services, especially in the area of residential aged care. A consensus exists that innovations in the area of Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs) are key enabling technologies for reaching this goal. The major focus of this article is WSN design considerations for ubiquitous wellness monitoring systems in residential aged care facilities. Major enabling technologies for building a pervasive WSN will be detailed, including descriptions on sensor design, wireless communication protocols and network topologies. Also examined are data processing methods and knowledge management tools to support the collection of sensor data and their subsequent analysis for health assessment. To introduce future healthcare reform in residential aged care, two aspects of wellness monitoring, vital signs and activities of daily living (ADL) monitoring, will be discussed.
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In the past, healthcare systems were dominated by the so called “medical” model. In this model, the healthcare providers took the primary role in deciding what the patients’ needs were and what clinical interventions would be undertaken. Elderly people with chronic conditions were either looked after by their families and carers in their own homes or in nursing homes. In the latter case there have been many reported incidents in which patients were deprived of choice, autonomy and even dignity.

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