Churches of Christ Care in Queensland is set to demonstrate the value of the Balance Mat at Marana Gardens Aged Care Service in Southport, Queensland. On 1 March 2018 Churches of Christ Physiotherapist Scott Rissmann (pictured) took delivery of the organisation’s first Balance Mat. This followed a meeting between Balance Mat’s General Manager Ian Bergman and Churches of Christ Care’s Allied Health Team Leader/Physiotherapist Craig Wilson. The plan is to use the Balance Mat to monitor changes in residents’ health status over time in conjunction with exercise programs, initially at Marana Gardens, with scope to emulate the program at other Churches of Christ Care facilities.
PSI’s new Balance Mat invention has been endorsed by Dr David Gillespie, a federal politician with thirty years of experience as a general practitioner and the former Assistant Minister for Health. Dr Gillespie provided a showcase opportunity for the Balance Mat inside Australian Parliament House, Canberra on 14 February 2018 as part of a health policy forum. In appreciation of the Council on the Ageing ACT (COTA ACT)’s long-standing commitment to the testing and development of the Balance Mat, COTA ACT President Ewan Brown (pictured, right, with Dr Gillespie (centre) and Balance Mat General Manager Ian Bergman (left) was invited to the health policy forum as a distinguished guest. Dr Gillespie recognised the importance of the Balance Mat as a breakthrough in balance measurement
Canberra aged care provider Goodwin has successfully used the Balance Mat to test the balance of 37 residents at Ainslie. Goodwin is a community-based not-for-profit organisation providing Canberra and regional communities with independent living villages, in-home care and residential aged care facilities at four locations: Ainslie, Crace, Farrer and Monash. Balance Mat General Manager Ian Bergman began collaborating with Goodwin’s Manager Operations Charlotte Bai and Physio Aide Jaswinder Nehar on trials of the Balance Mat in April 2017. Although the Goodwin team was keen to carry out trials of the Balance Mat, their pressing day-to-day duty-of-care responsibilities to residents took precedence for nearly ten months. This provides an illustrative example of the barriers that exist to adoption of a novel technology like the Balance
PSI Chair Sylvia Tulloch and CEO Ian Bergman were delighted to mentor young inventors at a Questacon event in the national capital on 17 January 2018. Ms Tulloch and Ms Bergman attended a “networking night” as mentors to 25 high school students from across Australia who attended the week-long National Questacon Invention Convention. They demonstrated the Balance Mat balance measurement tool for healthcare professionals at the networking night held at the CBR Innovation Network space. The Balance Mat fascinated the young people who stood on it, moved around and saw how their movements were reflected on the graphical interface.
PSI has now created a robot whose job it is to ensure consistent scores from mat to mat. During University of Canberra testing of the Balance Mat it emerged that some sort of mechanised process was required to calibrate the mats. “It’s important for all the mat scores to read identically,” explained Balance Mat General Manager Ian Bergman. “Obviously a person can’t wobble exactly the same amount each time they stand on the mat, whereas a machine can. Our Chief Technical Officer Geoff Buchan has now designed and built a machine that can do the job.” The robot Mr Buchan created is a mechanised device that sits in a pair of shoes and simulates the movement of a person with unstable balance. “The robot
The Balance Mat is assisting some of Canberra’s older Chinese community members to create harmony in health, body and mind. Based on the Chinese cultural value of harmony or “chi,” the Harmony Club is a 12-week program of meaningful activities for Chinese seniors focusing on health, “reablement” and positive ageing. Starting on 31 October 2017, this activities-based education program will run twice a year and integrate balance measurement with Tai Chi, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese cooking and financial management sessions. The Balance Mat will be used to track the balance of Harmony Club participants during the program, which also explores the topics of aged care and falls mitigation and emphasises the importance of actively engaging in harmony-enhancing activities. The Harmony Club is a partnership between
Balance Mat General Manager Ian Bergman met many potential clients at the Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) exhibition on the Gold Coast on Tuesday. Billed as the “largest aged services networking event in the southern hemisphere,” the LASA national congress provided a forum for industry leaders, managers and practitioners to come together, learn, celebrate, network and share ideas with their peers. Although we are still in the later phases of research and development, the LASA congress provided a perfect opportunity for Mr Bergman to gain industry intelligence and feedback from aged care facilities personnel, physiotherapy providers, medical suppliers and other companies. It confirmed the Balance Mat’s position as a viable alternative to current falls risk assessment tools in the context of a growing population
The Balance Mat is forming an integral part of two pilot programs to be run in South Australia. With funding from Health SA, the Council on the Ageing SA (COTA SA) plans to conduct two ‘Strength for Life 50+’ programs. On 28 September, COTA SA Manager Strength for Life Jeanette Richards took delivery of two Balance Mats from Balance Mat General Manager Ian Bergman in Adelaide. Mr Bergman spent the day in Adelaide supporting Ms Richards to train approximately 30 people in how to operate the Balance Mat. The first pilot program COTA SA plans to conduct is focused on strength, balance, exercise and nutrition and has a strong emphasis on falls prevention. This program aims to engage older people from culturally and linguistically
The Balance Mat business has been awarded a $30,000 grant to develop a data management system. A project to run for nine months to 31 March 2018 will be undertaken to address the current Balance Mat limitation of requiring healthcare professionals to record data manually. Under an ACT Government’s Innovation Connect grant, a data management system will be developed to enable users to readily store and compare data with other results. Aged care facilities and physiotherapists across Australia will be able to store balance measurement data “in the cloud.” This will enable them to track changes in their clients’ balance against health status and improvements as a result of exercise programs over weeks, months and years. Ultimately we envisage a National Balance Measurement Repository