Philips launches at-home senior care sensor system, wins VA grant for next-gen assisted living

CareSensus monitors activity around the house--Courtesy of Philips

Royal Philips ($PHG) has started a beta launch of a new Internet of Things (IoT), remote care service with partner Right at Home, a major in-home senior care network. Dubbed CareSensus, it uses connected sensors and analytics to monitor everyday behaviors such as sleeping, movement, eating and trips to the bathroom to identify changes in patterns that suggest the need for alterations in care.

The project is an early step toward usefully integrating technology into improving and enabling at-home care. Philips is also working at the outer edges of imagining what this technology could look like decades from now. It just got a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs to research Ambient Assisted Living technology that integrates sensors, actuators, interfaces, and artificial intelligence for use at home to support those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Philips and partner Right at Home hope to enable seniors with cognitive and physical frailties to be able to age in place. It's based on bringing the IoT into seniors' homes. The system uses connected, non-camera-based passive sensors that are placed around the home for continuous monitoring. Any alteration in routine behavior, such as change to the number of times using the bathroom or time to get out of bed in the morning, can alert caregivers to potential problems.

The Dutch company has a longstanding spot in the senior at-home care field with its Lifeline franchise, one of the original health wearables that offers seniors a means to easily connect to emergency services. Enabling at-home care is a key theme for the company, which a few years ago, shifted its focus entirely to HealthTech--a combination of its healthcare and consumer businesses. Earlier this year, Philips debuted a wearable vitals monitoring patch that can transition from hospital to home.

CareSensus non-camera-based passive sensor--Courtesy of Philips

"Philips' proprietary connected sensors platform allows the senior's Right at Home care team to proactively help keep them as healthy and secure as possible to better enable the delivery of tailored, expert care whenever and wherever it's needed," noted Philips CEO of Connected Care and Health Informatics Jeroen Tas in a statement. 

By 2025, there will be almost 1.2 billion people over age 60 globally.

"This aging shift will continue to increase demand for Right at Home's care services and will add increasing pressure on an industry already challenged with the supply for caregivers," said Right at Home President and CEO Brian Petranick. "As the need for caregivers across the globe exceeds supply, this partnership with Philips and the use of its innovative technology will help supplement the growing demand for in-home care and improve the well-being of our clients in a revolutionary way. This blended care approach will drive the future of home healthcare." The company is based in Omaha, NE with over 500 franchises in the U.S. and 7 other countries.

The VA grant for Philips is aimed at looking at how existing technologies and tools--such as connected home devices and sensors that connect to tablets with decision support systems--can improve the quality of life for veterans with MCI and their families. Addressing mild cognitive impairment is a priority for the agency, which recognizes that it can commonly result from brain trauma sustained by soldiers in the field.

- here is the Right at Home launch announcement
- and here is the VA grant release